MediaDefender vows to protect the big-name movie studios and record labels from attack by P2P file sharers. But it seems to have trouble protecting itself. Over the weekend, what looks like nine months of internal MediaDefender email messages turned up on BitTorrent sites across the net, in an apparent exposé of the company's …
There is so much more...
... MediaDefender-Defenders have also released a huge mysql dump of mediadefenders database as well as intercepted phone calls discussing the email leak.
I wasn't surprised
Companies such as the RIAA and MPAA have not exactly been forecomming with their facts. That their 'attack dogs' not only lie to the public, but to these groups that pay them for this work should not come as a surprise either.
This is symptomatic of what is going on now around the world. Perhaps this leak, showing the internal workings of what is claimed to be one of the leading companies in the field, will show perspective clients, such as the porn industry, that this is not the way to go.
They can bail all they want, but it won't stop the Titanic that is the current business practices of MediaDefenders clients, from sinking without trace. A quote from MacBeth neatly sums up these antipiracy activies
"It is a tale told by an idiot,
Full of sound and fury,
Pirate Party of the US
i cant find myself getting mad at these ppl. i dont like their tatics, but they strike me as a mercenary hired to do a dirty and impossiable job. and im sure they are charging the RIAA an ungoldy sum compared to what they actully get acomplished...i can see them going overboard just to show some results.
C'est la guerre...
...which means "That's war". And this is war; the Copyright War.
What this article illustrates is that, unlike the US military IRL, Corporate America is losing this war. With P2Pers on one side and the **AAs on the other, this is evident from what could be termed the "losses" on either side.
If we consider that every copyrighted work released on Bittorrent is a **AA casualty, and every P2Per that gets sued a P2P casualty, the **AAs have lost a lot more than the P2Pers. How many copyrighted works have been distributed against how many people sued? Add to that the actual "kill-ratio": tens of millions of downloaders, against a few thousand lawsuit victims. In fact, you have statistically less chance of getting busted for copyright infringement than of dying in a car crash.
What this means is that the **AAs simply don't field enough firepower to turn the tide. There are too many P2Pers, with too many skilled combatant hackers in their ranks, for the **AAs to be able to win on the hacking, spoofing and DRM front. As to winning on the lawsuit front, short of suing the entire population of the Internet into bankruptcy, this is something they do not have the resources or means to even remotely accomplish.
The end result of all this is, when the war is won by P2P, we can probably kiss goodbye to eye-candy blockbusters such as Star Wars, and professionally produced large-scale music. It will be the indie artists and filmmakers who will rise to eminence, and while many of these are simplistic and amateurish now, with the billions of dollars that will then be retrieved from the corporate black hole, these works will take on a lustre and polish they currently lack. There are already trends in this direction; Tripping the Rift and Star Trek: The New Voyages are examples of low-budget indie works whose quality, while not yet up to the big studios' level, could not have been matched even a few years ago. On this front, things will continue to improve.
And art will once again be in the hands of artists and citizens, not marketroids and accountants.
*AA stats sources
Now every time I'll be reading article about next *AA loosing revenues to piracy we know how they calculate them: MediaDefender's bills! he-he.
Re: C'est la guerre...
"we can probably kiss goodbye to eye-candy blockbusters such as Star Wars,"
Good riddance! The recent Star Wars and Harry Potter films were, I have to admit, pretty to look at, but boring and utterly lacking spirit.
"There are already trends in this direction; Tripping the Rift and Star Trek: The New Voyages are examples of low-budget indie works whose quality, while not yet up to the big studios' level, could not have been matched even a few years ago."
Or consider "Star Wrek - in the Pirkinning". Made in Finland mostly by volunteers and on less than a shoestring budget, the story is ridiculous, but the digital backgrounds and effects are Hollywood-level (and much better than in the original 1977 Star Wars), thanks to cheap computing power.
There is such a simple solution for these people.
Stop fighting the flow and go with it. I would happily pay for a gaurenteed quality copy of new movies - £2-£3 per movie with the volume of downloaders surely they would begin to make some decent ping off it. Even better make it a subscribing system - £50 - £60 per year unlimited movies - I'd pay it.
The people that want to pay £14 to go see it in the movies can but I am willing to bet that if they facilitated the online distribution of movies on and already existing infrastructure (P2P) they would see their profits go up.
Indie is probably good
The one thing I look forward to is originality. Hollywood is always the same drivel, more or less well thought out, and acting is sometimes iffy. Indie films may be lame at the beginning, but at least they will quickly evolve.
Personally, I like the Harry Potter series, and I am a great fan of Star Wars and of Star Trek (Original Series only, and the good films). Even so, there is precious few occasions where I feel motivated to go to the cinema these days. Most of the DVDs I buy are of films I already know, some are quite old.
Between the films that are nothing but actor placements (Ghost Rider, anyone), the films that have a cool premise but totally lack anything called logic, and the films that insist on using stone-age catchlines, stereotype characters and situations, Hollywood is really running on fumes.
It is high time for the Indie groups to come on scene and rock the boat. Natural selection and market forces will do the rest.
"unlike the US military IRL, Corporate America is losing this war"
Errr ... I think you will find they are losing as well.
Subscription services suggestion
Actually not a bad idea. All they have to do is offer a better service. I do find it mildly irritating that downloaded video is occasionally - *occasionally* - a little glitchy, or not in quite the format / quality I would have preferred, so a commercial service could still offer me something.
Something worth about say £1 - £2 per film, or £5 a month. Assuming the files were perfect, in my preferred format, and I was free to redistribute them without making a profit.
Never going to happen...
Ah well, I suppose we can just try to do our bit to improve the service that's currently better - everyone please rip in decent quality to XVID (OGG for audio) and delete broken files from your shares :)
Like any other war started by Americans from 1812 onwards they don't really understand the battlefield enough to do anything but brute-force it. Sometimes it works, but mostly it doesn't. In this case they are up against a mongolian horde and brute-forcing doesn't really make much sense. Move the battlefield. Change the war. Or lose. But that means understanding the battlefield and they don't dare to...
I am a criminal
Last night, I downloaded an episode of Heroes using BitTorrent.
This presumably makes me a copyright criminal.
The irony is that I was forced to do this by a "clashed" recording on my proprietary, DRM'd, and very buggy (Sky+ HD) set top box. It clashed with itself, presumably, since we weren't recording anything else.
When technology "choices" offered to us prove inadequate or restrictive, people go with what works.
@C'est la guerre...
"we can probably kiss goodbye to eye-candy blockbusters such as Star Wars,"
Absolutely not! There was no evidence that so-called piracy has affected these blockbusters' box office receipts in the very least. Or DVD sales, for that matter.
What P2P will eventually do is that bad movies will suffer, good movies will gain.
Yes, increases the risks but also the payoff. This will hopefully make the word "art" again applicable to the word "cinematograph".
@Steve ten Have
its called DVD rental by post. Starts at about £5 per month
A lot of issues here
First, the person that stole their data, if they can be traced, can expect to spend quite a few years behind bars. No matter what their moral justification is, they're criminals and should expect to be treated as such. Two-wrongs don't make a right and all that stuff. Certainly if they stole data from my systems I'd be delighted to see them go to jail. Anyone handling such stolen data can also expect a visit from the police.
Firstly some of the premises being argued are wrong; George Lucas is an indie film maker. He finances the Star Wars saga and his other projects directly from his own resources. The last time he needed film studio money was in 1979 when 20th Century Fox loaned him the money to complete The Empire Strikes Back after it ran over budget. Lucas is ultimately where your premise of the high-budget indie film maker leads but to recoup the investment he needs to protect his rights; the rights to Star Wars are his in its entirety. The idea you're going to make $150 million movies like Revenge of the Sith based on the economics of £60 a year unlimited downloads is absurd.
But lets face it the arguments being put forward by the P2P crowd are completely disingenuous: you have absolutely no intent of ever paying for licenced content because you're asking them to compete with the price you currently pay which is nothing. You're a fabulously dishonest bunch of people that have absolutely no economic model worked out about how you pay for this stuff. In fact the subtext of your entire argument is that it should be free, that everyone just donates their time, money and matériel to entertain you for nothing. Your idea that the "indie" market will be self-supporting whilst at the same time being "free" is disingenuous pap. Well, at least unless you want to spend the rest of your life watching atrocious fan-fiction, Citizen Kane, it is not.
The "war" will never be won by P2P for a number of reasons; the first is there is no consensus over why entertainment should be free. There will never be a revolution in copyright law that will legitimise this. There is no critical mass issue in which the public will take on board the argument for music and film to be free. Music and art is entirely in the hands of the public, you have the choice over whether to buy it or not. Complaining that it's not free (as in beer) is no argument whatsoever. The antagonism of P2P is simply a ticking time-bomb, it inevitably leads to more repressive and authoritarian laws where one day even using a P2P protocol will lead directly to jail. The more adversarial users are, the more the authorities will tighten the screw and eventually we'll all lose. The idea that P2P will emerge victorious is pure fantasy; all it will lead to is the encouragement of the authoritarian state in which all our freedoms will be more restricted.
Cost of movies
"The people that want to pay £14 to go see it in the movies"
It's only £6 where I am and I suspect for 88% of the UK. Perhaps you're referring to London and the SouthEast?
I don't pay £14 for any film, be it cinema or DVD. I wait for 6-12 months then buy cheaply on the internet £5-£6 or down the market stall where my local secondhand DVD dealer charges £2-£5. Then I can watch it as often as I like on my massive LCD TV / surround sound system. It has the added advantage of having no interruptions from other viewers, such as mobile phones or chatting.
As for this article, the only thing that surprises me is that the **AAs still think that they can command the tide to go back!
What is the porn industry doing right?
The porn industry is printing its own money right now, and producing new, high quality product. Yet it has no DRM, doesn't exactly fight P2P distribution, and "fair use" teaser segments of their products are so ubiquitously available as to be barely worth mention.
Somehow, the porn industry is handling the internet correctly (I'd suggest it is accepting a revised model where it only receives payment for a small fraction of their market, but uses the internet's virulent distribution mechanisms to ensure that that market is absolutely vast. Smaller slice of a larger pie).
Perhaps the mainstream studios should take a leaf from their book?
"Smaller slice of a larger pie."
It's a crisis for art, really. Can anyone offer anything as compelling as photography of people rutting? The evidence isn't encouraging.
A good quote
"If the art world was ran by the RIAA, you would have to lease special glasses if you wanted to see a painting." - Rodney Caston
"we can probably kiss goodbye to eye-candy blockbusters such as Star Wars,"
isnt starwars still in the top ten biggest earners, along side Harry potter and the lord of the rings.
yes, sure you are always going to get some people making illicit copies of x or y, but on the whole the market survices.....
its not "Home Taping" didnt kill music or videogames, derrivate and bland formulaic &^%&% cynically traded by corpertations has killed those marktes - oops my mistake (video games are now bigger than hollywood)
poor films dont sell well as people dont go and seem them, becuase they dont want too, not beacuse it was pirated out of existance! as not everyone who has a computer is a rampamnt and rabid memebr of the P2P community!
there are winners and loosers in life, survival of the fittest (or smartest - or occasionaly the lucky!) that is why there is only one Bill Gates or Jockerfella and billions of poor people.... (dont get me started on communisim and equality - read Orwells Animal Farm!)
Scamming the Entertainment Industry
MediaDefender is no different that the snakeoil salesmen of the DRM industry. They prey on the lack of technological sophistication of people in the Entertainment Industry, by telling them there are technological solutions to piracy. Bits are bits, and no matter what you do in terms of encryption, specialty applications for playback, etc, at some point the data has to be exposed when sent to the A/D converter chips (for sound) and the display (for images). At that point, the data can be intercepted by a decent programmer, converted to any format desired, and stored as a unprotected file. The entire DRM industry, as well as scammers like MediaDefender, know this (at least the smart people in these places do) and know they are defrauding their clients by telling them they can solve their clients problems. The exposed emails show this.
MediaDefender-Defenders should not have revealed how they got the emails. Doing so was childish. They should have kept that to themselves so that the window into MediaDefender stayed open.
I stopped going to the cinema to watch "normal" films, not because i can download a dvd-rip by the time its out here.... but basically because im sick to death of having "get the facts" or "knock off nigel" campaigns shoved down my throat, when will they realise they are preaching to the wrong crowd in those places?! Same with compulsory warnings on DVD, that I can't skip on my 360. So they stopped me buying DVD's because I was annoyed with warnings about me being a pirate, I stopped going to cinema for anything other than the biggest of blockbusters!
When they stop treating their customers with contempt and like criminals, maybe the customers will stop leaning towards the comaradery of download-rings on the web where they are treated as brothers-in-arms "sticking it to the man"...
Re: I am a criminal
I can relate to that slippery downhill slope from fair use to media free-for-all.
I was an early ATI All-In-Wonder TV Tuner adopter and used computer-based digital video recording with my subscription cable service for a quite few years.
Around 2005 my setup started having difficulty tuning select channels, resulting in botched recordings. I upgraded my tuner/video card, built new video server, but still got the occcaisional recording of snowy, poorly tuned content, and even saw the legendary broadcast flag once (!?!) which actually prevented recording of a show after a software update (a stoopid Home-depot documentary on the history channel).
Desperate to watch the missed episodes of Stargate (working late + long commute; same as everyone), eventually I found out that most shows are available on the internet 1 day after broadcast, with the commercials stripped out and compressed to 350MB Divx/Xvid instead of a couple of GB of MPEG-2.
The cappers usually have a better original signal too, cause the compressed recordings were invariably better than watching my cable feed live!
Needless to say, I went from getting the occaisional missing episode from the net to getting *all* episodes from the net pretty quickly.
Regaurdless of the price (actually higher, including "labor"), It was simply a superior product.
a lack of...
I go to the cinema about 4 times a year, because in fairness, theres only ever 4 or so films that warrant me taking an entire evening out of my time, travelling expenses, £37 on popcorn and £19 for a Coke.
I buy about 20 albums a year, because in fairness, theres only ever about 20 albums which are worth shedding £12-15 for.
If downloading anything copyrighted led immediately to jail, i'd just have far less money and a lot more crap in boxes, shoved in a cupboard. Im sure many parents out there would be struggling to keep those cupboards closed, much like their wallets.
Who told you that Porn makes money!
It is not and never has been a money machine, its a myth.
Most films cost $4000 to make and make $6500-$7000.
Your lucky if you make $2000 on each film, but as they only take a week to make its a high turnover low profit model.
>about say £1 - £2 per film, or £5 a month
Why stop there?
Why not 1p or 2p a film and 3p a decade for anything they might produce?
re: iTunes Works
iTunes works? News to me. Last I heard it crashed when trying to play songs over 30 minutes long. I want to organise my own music collection, not have a program do it all for me without me getting a choice. Not to mention the awful looking theme Apple insist on putting on all their applications with no chance to change it, and the abysmal customer service you get from them.
No, you won't find me using iTunes any time soon.
Re: iTunes Works
> Last I heard it crashed when trying to play songs over 30 minutes long.
That's news to me. I have quite a few classical pieces that go well beyond 30 minutes.
You might try actually using it before rendering such a sweeping statement.
>I want to organise my own music collection, not have a program do it all for me without me getting a choice.
So, what do you use that is so much better?
> Not to mention the awful looking theme Apple insist on putting on all their applications with no chance to change it
Like those gorgeous WinAmp skins?
@ Michael (MPAA./RIAA Mouthpiece?)
"No, the people that published the email served only to show that underhand, nefarious tactics are going to be required to catch modern internet criminals."
Somebody has forgotten the old adage "two wrongs don't make a right." But what else can you expect from people who completely lack ethics and whose real motivation is making sure the supply of cash to support their cocaine habits isn't shut off? I wouldn't trust those types with 89¢ to buy a can of catfood at the corner store.
One of the regulars on the newsgroup rec.music.classical.recordings used to go on (and on and on and on ad infinitum et ad nauseam) about the music industry being primarily interested in paying for their cocaine supplies. For a long time I though he was exaggerating, but more and more I think he was hitting the nail on the head. What else does one expect from cokeheads but a demonstrable lack of restraint and reasoned response?
I also love the way the mouthpieces for MPAA/RIAA rant about crimes and criminals, carefully glossing over the fact that your actions don't constitute a crime and you aren't a criminal until a court of law has said so. In fact, e-yelling "criminal" at an innocent-until-proven-guilty downloader might just constitute libel, slander, and/or defamation of character.
Keep it up guys; it's a laugh a minute. Best comedy routine going these days!
Dear Mr "The Man",
This issue won't go away until you take the pluge, and make the jump to proper streaming digital ditribution at a reasonable price (could be pay-as-you-go or subscription based). Then downloads become an absolute non-issue.
But you needs to have a completely and utterly comprehensive back-catalogue library (i.e. the equal of Amazon's inventory). And with Google or eBay's level of searchability. Amazon's search is not good.
I'm not talking iTunes PAYG but bigger and cheaper. Or emusic style subscriptions but with higher limits and cheaper. I can't be doing with the downloading, and subsequent file format, bitrate, storage and management faffery. And neither can my friend, Joanna Public.
I'm talking about selecting from the item utterly comprehensive back-catalogue library and just watching it (or listening to it).
That utterly comprehensive back-catalogue library, should be available whether we're using a portable music device while out and about or sat in front of your home cinema. Detect what I'm using and stream the appropriate file format to me.
Remember the bit I just typed about file formats, storage and management faffery? Etch it on your retina. Tattoo it on your forehead. I don't just want to not have to deal with "files", "formats", "bitrates" or "storage". In fact, I don't even wan't to know that they exist.
And I don't care about the required infrastructure blah blah blah. Build it and they will come.
Glue on whatever added value social-network-portal-here's-what-we-recommend-type-tat if you feel you must...
BUT ONCE I'VE PAID UP, I JUST WANT TO GORGE ON YOUR MEDIA.
LET ME GET TO WHATEVER PIECE OF MEDIA I WANT FROM A SINGLE SEARCH PAGE AND HAVE IT PLAYING ON MY DEVICE WITHIN 5 CLICKS OR BUTTON PRESSES. Preferably 3.
Is the message getting through yet, Mr "The Man"?
Here's a three-point summary:
ii)On any device.
iii)From an utterly comprehensive back-catalogue library.
Yours in anticipation,
Me and my friend Joanna Public
PS: Cheap subscriptions with unlimited DRM-free downloads are probably the only way I can see this issue can going for music and films in the meantime, as a damage limitation exercise until the infrastructure can competently deliver the streaming option described above.
> Who told you that Porn makes money!
> Most films cost $4000 to make and make $6500-$7000.
Oh, you just did.
downloading stuff isn't a real crime anyway, that's why you can't get a criminal conviction for it.
Anyway who downloads this crap anyway? The only stuff I download are fansubs, and I personally want the western anime industry to crash and burn as then I'd never ever have to hear another shitty American dub actor again as long as I lived.
The crime is liking popular music and films, seriously... it's all crap, the RIAA and MPAA can keep their shit, and anyone insane enough to download it deserves everything they get.
Nice boat btw.
I prefer the term liberate.
Why earlier today i liberated The Bourne Ultimatum from newsgroups. R5 release and everything.
Of course porn makes money! What a ridiculous statement. The internet may have been built for research, but it was adapted for porn very early on and porn money has driven its development ever since. It's not just the film makers who make the money either - everyone from aggregators to sellers of advertising to ISPs is making a cut off porn. Porn makes the internet go round, baby!
"The antagonism of P2P is simply a ticking time-bomb, it inevitably leads to more repressive and authoritarian laws where one day even using a P2P protocol will lead directly to jail. The more adversarial users are, the more the authorities will tighten the screw and eventually we'll all lose. The idea that P2P will emerge victorious is pure fantasy; all it will lead to is the encouragement of the authoritarian state in which all our freedoms will be more restricted."
Of course, nothing like that would happen if it weren't for those evil P2P pirates. If all piracy suddenly stopped, I'm sure the RIAA and MPAA would immediately stop lobbying for changes to the law at the expense of fair use, or trying to push consumers towards models based on renting content instead of buying it. As for authorianism, I really can't imagine any government ever trying to encroach on its citizens' freedom in the name of anti-piracy, if people stopped using P2P illegally. I am quite certain that the level of intrusiveness which those groups aim for is completely proportional to the real level of piracy, and would instantly drop to zero if all piracy suddenly ceased. It's not like such trustworthy institutions would ever consider exaggerating the scale of a problem in order to justify their own agendas...
Not loosing out
I have to say that, on the whole, I don't think the industry is loosing out.
Many of the people who pirate movie/software etc probably wouldn't have bought it/rented it/gone to the cinema to see it. They would have watched it when it came out on TV and probably recorded it.
Has anyone seen the Downloading ep of south park?
"This year, because of people downloading music, Britney Spears can't afford to upgrade her private jet. She has to stick with the old one which doesnt even have a remote controll for the huge widescreen TV" (not word for word, but the general idea is there)
Those who can afford and want to buy DVDs/CDs etc still do. Even some who can't afford it.
These big corp's may loose out on a few sales here or there (I know several ppl who download music to see if they want to buy it, so they loose money if its crap). But it's by no means any more than when kids used to buy a tape/record/cd between them and make copies. It's just higher profile now, and easier. People can share with those who they don't know directly. Oh, and they are easier to find. So the industries involved try to leverage their money/power etc to force people to stop.
The sky is not falling, it already fell and no one noticed.
In terms of online piracy, I think that right now things as bad as they can get for the **AA's. The damage has already been done, and it hasn't killed or crippled any industries or had any effect on movie budgets.
Other than a few hardcore computer geeks like myself very few are interested in having a computer connected to their home theater system.
The average person listens to a few songs or watch the occasional movie their PCs, but for the most part they still buy CDs and watch movies on rented DVDs and when a good movie comes out they want to see it at a theater.
I don't see that changing until someone releases an OS thats as stable and as easy to use and maintain as a DVD player.
And the real threat to the RIAA is the fact that there are more talented artists than they could ever possibly package and market to the public, and these artists can self publish at very high quality, give their music away and still make a profit on live performances.
Thats why the RIAA is struggling so hard to cripple net radio and keep a strangle hold on the regular stations.
PS XviD and OGG?, no they need to standardize on DivX and keep the original 5.1 AC3, and file sizes that are fractions of 4.38 GB rather than multiples of 700GB :)
Why do people P2P?
The main reason as far as I'm concerned is quite simply the rip off prices we're being charged for CDs and DVDs. When I want a CD or DVD I don't go first to bit torrent, I go to the local store. Recently I needed the soundtrack for Grease. I expected this to be about a fiver - I mean the film came out when I was a kid and surely they have made their money on it. But no, the price in Borders was £12.99!!! I object to being ripped off like that. If had been a half sensible price I would have bought it but instead I used bit torrent. The industry has only got itself to blame for illegal copying, it is just too damn greedy.
One thing I have thought of doing tho, is to send a letter to the film or CD maker explaining why I used P2P instead of purchasing a legal copy and enclose a postal order for a fair amount.
@ Anonymous **AA Flunky
"No, the people that published the email served only to show that underhand, nefarious tactics are going to be required to catch modern internet criminals."
Oh, you mean like calling a pre-teen girl's school and pretending to be a family member, in order to kidnap her and take her to a lawyer's office to be grilled about file sharing? See http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1182914724179260.xml&coll=7 for an independent report of this criminal behavior.
You do realize that, ahd the **AA reps succeeded in spiriting this child away from her school, US law permits the use of deadly force to free her from her kidnappers, don't you?
The MPAA and RIAA started this war. They have committed *capital* felony offenses in their pursuit of money. That makes them absolutely indentical to Al Capone's hired thugs in the early part of last Century.
Personally, I would have no problem putting a large, blunt object into violent contact with the skulls of any **AA flunky that showed up at my door. But then, I'm a moderate.
meh you can keep your crappy xvid and your ogg
give me my .h264 and my avi
Ahoy there *AAss.es
"The more you tighten your fist, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."
- Senetor Organa
MD vs MDD
MediaDefenders versus MediaDefenders-Defenders? Reminds me of the player killers and player-killer killers in so many MMORPGs.
My favorite thing to remember about the RIAA and MIAA ilk is if they'd had their way with VCRs, their constituent membership would have never made any of the billions of dollars that came from cassette sales and rentals.
re David Wilkinson
I watch quite a lot of DVD's, and always listen to music, on my PC. This is due to my girlfriend confiscating the TV control between 7pm and 9pm everynight to watch soaps and dramas. I'm not a geek (well, not much, my teeth are still shiny(ish)), but recently I downloaded the Top Gear polar expedition from Bit Torrent as I'd missed it thanks to the situation above. If I'd had sky+ I would have recorded it and watched it at my leisure (meaning when she'd gone to bed). Unfortunately I can't afford it. This would have been completely acceptable to the production companies, regulatory bodies, etc. Instead as I've downloaded it I'm now open to civil prosecution for theft of copyright. Who says the law has to be fair or make sense.