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Should Limewire questions automatically be assumed to be piracy related?

To their credit, Limewire's EULA states

It is unlawful to use the Program to infringe the intellectual property rights of others

and they also have a copyright filter which blocks copyrighted content so that when activated

LimeWire prohibits your downloading of that file

Regarding litigation, Limewire has been sued by and countersued the RIAA for piracy.

This question was posted on Superuser and was immediately assumed a piracy question, and was downvoted accordingly, 8 down, 3 up. Several other snide remarks and answers followed. If Limewire == piracy, then the question should be closed. If not, should moderation curb the abuse?

Other questions like Consequences of Windows Genuine Advantage Warning have received similar treatment.

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In PHP Limewire == piracy, but that's just because of the type system. But Limewire === piracy is not true. –  Ólafur Waage Sep 14 '09 at 10:28
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So PHP == lame is true? –  hyperslug Sep 14 '09 at 16:04
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8 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

With regards to the first question involving Limewire I have removed and cleaned up the comments and formatted the question. However there is nothing wrong with the question directly as the OP never refers to downloading illegal software, and I think it received a very good answer on top of it. I don't see any reason why the question should not be allowed, unless it explicitly encourages and suggest links to illegal software and warez

I find it amazing that four of the users that were quick to comment on the legality of the question did not cast a single close vote although they had the ability to do so, but instead chose to attack the OP in comments. Use your voting powers, it is why they have been given

I have also cleaned up the comments on the second question here however again this question was reviewed at the time by the moderators, and since it in no way encouraged or suggested pirating windows, but rather asked something regarding the consequences thereof, it is a valid question.

Furthermore. If you find these questions flag them for moderator attention with a very specific reason as to why you think it is unsuitable, instead of creating unnecessary noise via the comments feature.

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The "to" was valid. –  random Sep 14 '09 at 10:31
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I removed the wrong to.... There was just too many to's in that question. I think it was a bit too much. –  Diago Sep 14 '09 at 11:26
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I thought I cured you from your boldness. –  Ladybug Killer Sep 14 '09 at 11:50
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My boldness is an extension of my personality. My wife has been trying for years to find a cure... –  Diago Sep 14 '09 at 11:57
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I should talk to her! –  Ladybug Killer Sep 14 '09 at 12:01
    
@Diago: is John Smithers your wife!? –  perbert Sep 15 '09 at 2:09
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Default right answer since this is the resulting moderator decision. From this thread, I gathered: Limewire is 99.9% piracy so users should state specifically what software they are looking for to avoid witch-hunts but should still be given the benefit of the doubt. Flag if you doubt. –  hyperslug Sep 25 '09 at 14:55
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That question was specifically about trying to download software from Limewire. If software is freely available, it will be on a torrent, FTP, or web site, plain and simple as that. The OP there is clearly using it for teh warez and is, rather ironically, complaining that he's getting virii from it. Ergo, it deserved to be closed.

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That question is essentially a rant complaining about trojans on Limewire. The "question" is asking if there is anywhere else to obtain a piece of software. I can't think of any legitimate reason you'd want to obtain freely available software through Limewire instead of through other means.

The only logical conclusion is that the asker is indeed a pirate. If he wants to know where to obtain any particular software package, he should mention that software in his question, if only to lend legitimacy to the question.

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Agreed that he should have clarified "a piece of software" but if it was something legal yet embarrassing he may not want to (and shouldn't really have to). The question was kind of wiki-ish: "P2P alternatives to Limeware? Anyone else have trouble w/ rampant trojans?" which sounds like a legit question. –  hyperslug Sep 13 '09 at 23:04
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@hyperslug: Can you think of anything, hypothetically speaking, which is "legal but embarrassing?" What are we talking about, hemorrhoid management software? –  ベレアー アダム Sep 13 '09 at 23:36
    
@Adam, Adult software of some sort? –  hyperslug Sep 13 '09 at 23:40
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@hyperslug: Not that I have every used it (cough), but every piece of "adult" software I've ever seen is decidedly non-free, not something you can legally download through limewire. There is no reason to give this person the benefit of the doubt unless you can come up with at least one concrete example that would make his question legitimate. –  ベレアー アダム Sep 13 '09 at 23:42
    
@Adam, point taken, can't think of anything else. Re your other point, should we require that he couldn't possibly obtain it from any other source? Could the same be said of torrent or usenet? Having a tool preference is ok. –  hyperslug Sep 14 '09 at 0:17
    
@hyperslug: As I commented on the Op's response, the issue with this question is that he should worded his question about Limewire more tactfully, instead of baldly stating that he's downloaded many pieces of software infected with Trojans. ... The fact that this is the only limewire question on SU conflates the two issues, so it's hard to say if the community feels that way about Limewire in general, or just this question. –  ベレアー アダム Sep 14 '09 at 0:24
    
There's a fair number of works of "adult" interactive fiction (text adventures) that are free. I don't follow the IF communities as much as I used to, so I don't know that they're on Limewire, but it is conceivable. (It seems to me that you might also get ribbed by other people using "adult" software for getting your porn in the form of text adventures, so there may be additional motives for concealment - although this is pure speculation.) –  David Thornley Sep 14 '09 at 2:08
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@David: Please, I beg of you, never reveal any information that personal to me again. I feel very awkward now, like I went for a handshake, and you went for a bearhug. –  Eric Sep 14 '09 at 3:08
    
@Eric: Is this the right place to discuss Rule 34? (Google for "xkcd rule 34" if unclear.) –  David Thornley Sep 14 '09 at 15:19
    
What about old software that isn't available anymore through other means? –  Georg Schölly Sep 14 '09 at 19:16
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For the record, I pay for software I deem worthy of purchase. I currently own Partition Magic by Symantic, Acronis True Image Home Edition 2009, Roboform, DVD Fab Platinum, Windows XP Home Edition and others. All of which I have the original CD's and or serial numbers for. I even paid for a program called Matter of Time, which is my homepage. I also pay an annual fee to a website called Weather Underground, just to have the privilege of using their website throughout the year.

To be labeled a thief by user "Molly" was highly offensive to me. I am fully aware of the risks and reputation of Limewire. On the rare occasion I cannot find the website of a particular program I'm interested in, as a last resort I would search for it on Limewire.

I have downloaded less than half a dozen files from Limewire, all of which contained Trojans. My question was a simple two parter. Do all files downloaded from Limewire contain Trojans and where would be a better place to look. My question was not referring to any program in particular.

In less than a blink of an eye, without answering the question at all, Molly wrote "how about buying your software! some folks write code for a living, you know". Her assumption here of course is that I'm a pirate and/or a thief. She doesn't even know me, or anything about me. And when someone attacks my character, I'm not going to sit idly by and take it.

I should mention here that I recognized he name and statistics from another forum called ASUS Eee PC Forum. She had asked for advice on a piece of software for her EEE Netbook, which I gave to her. She replied with another snide nasty retort similar to the one she just gave me on this forum. I was really taken aback by he response. I had never been subjected to that kind of attack before, even though I've been on the internet for many years. I own an ASUS Eee Netbook and when I visit that forum, I would go out of my way to stay clear of her. Then out of the blue she pops up here.

All I was looking for was a response given by user "dbr" which got my checkmark and received seven up votes.

Looking at her record on this forum, I notice she has given 381 answers, but never asked a question, which to me is a red flag in itself. It tells me she feels she has all the answers and doesn't need advice from anyone. What a pity. I don't go through one day without learning something new about my computer. And this from a person who's first computer was a Radio Shack Model 1. That should tell you I've been tinkering with these things since the late 70's.

And for the record, I'm 72 years old and probably old enough to be her grandfather.

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Go to the accounts tab on your profile and associate your accounts so we know it's you who owns that SU question. –  random Sep 14 '09 at 0:19
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So to sum up: You sometimes pay for software, you don't deny that you download pirated software through Limewire, and you have a lot of nasty things to say about another user. Oh, also, you're older than many of us. ... I think the key thing to recognize here is that you admitted to downloading software through Limewire. Until and unless you can tell us what that was, the immediate assumption by readers is going to be that that was piracy. This colors the attitude towards your question. Whether that's fair or not, you would have gotten a better response with a more tactful question. –  ベレアー アダム Sep 14 '09 at 0:21
    
So your assumption Adam is that anyone who visits Limerwire is a thief? Sorry to have bothered you folks. Seeing as my response wasn't good enough, I'll leave now. –  Patriot Sep 14 '09 at 0:36
    
@Patriot, I doubt Molly has a vendetta against you or Limewire; she has commented on illegal behavior on other questions, appropriately in those cases. –  hyperslug Sep 14 '09 at 0:50
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@unknown: No, that is not what I said. The key point was that you downloaded software through limewire, not that you merely visited it. I would think that 72 years would give you better reading comprehension skills. –  ベレアー アダム Sep 14 '09 at 1:04
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BTW, it would never occur to me to claim that somebody who didn't ask and frequently answered was a know-it-all who thought she had all the answers. That looks to me like somebody wanting to say something bad and making up the best he or she could. I answer questions when I think I can help. I ask them when I need help, and think that asking a question here is the best way (there's real limits as to the amount of company code I want to post in public, folks). –  David Thornley Sep 14 '09 at 2:10
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There is nothing wrong with only answering questions. –  Brad Gilbert Sep 14 '09 at 18:35
    
The two accounts do appear to be from the same user, because they have the same Gravatar image. Although that really only means they share the same IP address. –  Brad Gilbert Sep 14 '09 at 18:44
    
She was a user on Super User for 15 days before you joined. –  Brad Gilbert Sep 14 '09 at 18:46
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8 down, 3 up? So they're 14 up... if (as per the other 2 answers) this is indeed nefarious, then bring on the vote changes.

We are considering changing downvotes to -5

This would then be -10 points, which sounds more reasonable than +14 .

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Limewire in itself does not equal piracy. This is because Limewire can be used to share legitimate files.

Unfortunately, it seems very few people actually seem to use limewire for legitimate purposes.

If someone asks a question about Limewire, and does not allude to any piracy, I think it would be both rude and presumptuous to assume that the person in question is a pirate. I'm not kidding myself here, I'm pretty sure that this person is likely to use it for less than wonderful means, however who are we to assume that someone is automatically a pirate simply because they use limewire?

That's like assuming that everyone who owns a balaclava is a thief or burglar. Just not the case.

I think that Limewire, like any other possibly sensitive topic, should be handled on a case by case basis. Just as there are legitimate purposes for the use of Bittorrent, there are legitimate uses for Limewire, and even the balaclava.

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Assuming that the question does not explicitly state that someone is engaging in piracy, I think it may sometimes be appropriate to answer someones question. A while back a similar question came up in regards to answering questions Stack Overflow that may or may not be used for malicious means (e.g. A script for bulk mailing for be for spam, or for opt-in newsletters.) Likewise, I could see a situation like this were a user might just be looking for something in the realm of abandonware or they might just be misinformed about something. For example, if someone asked the following:

I've been told I can get [name of newly released game] for free on the internet, where can I find it?

Should the question be closed because they are asking for help in pirating something, or should they just get a short answer saying that to the best of the posters knowledge the software isn't free and that what they are asking to do is illegal and greatly increases their chances of getting a malware infection on their computer? Granted it might get a bit trying to have to keep telling people that they shouldn't be doing that, but in the long run it might also help to educate users.

Perhaps there is a way that we can add a canned "That is a bad idea" type lock and link to the FAQ that moderators can use?

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The answer is yes, Limewire == Piracy

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