Good news for music pirates: according to Last.fm, Techcrunch's suggestion that the site is passing on details of anybody listening to the new, unreleased U2 album to the RIAA is "completely false".

Bad news for pirates: the RIAA doesn't need to grab sites' data if you're dumb enough to list illegal downloads on your public profile. Before the U2 album turned up legally on Spotify, all U2's record company needed to do was search Last.fm for "U2 No Line On The Horizon".

Why go to the hassle of trying to get data from websites when the users will hand it to you on a plate?

We're sure that some of the people listening to the leaked album simply forgot that Last.fm tells other people what you're listening to, but we're also sure that a fair number of them were boasting. Look at me! I've got something I shouldn't have! I am cool!

We can't imagine that U2's record company particularly cares, especially when the original leak came from, er, U2's record company. But from time to time entertainment firms, software firms and other companies whose stuff ends up shared without their consent like to make an example of people. In that context, bragging about dodgy deeds on social networks is rather silly.

The whole point of social media - blogs, social networks, services such as Last.fm, Twitter, MySpace and all the rest - is to share your content, and yet time after time people put stuff online to impress their peers without giving any thought to who else might read it.

So people tell their friends they're pulling a sickie, forgetting that the boss will see the status update, too. Students post photos of bad behaviour, forgetting that university staff share the same network and will see the shots. And people that pirate music, movies or software boast about it in places where it isn't that hard for the authorities to find them.

As Last.fm user SgtBauer puts it: "If you are going to pirate, don't [scrobble] leaked songs and don't make your tracks 'Track_01_SongTitle_The_Pirate_Bay'."

Better still, don't pirate at all: do what we did and listen to the U2 album on Spotify. Then you can legally tell the entire internet that it's rubbish.

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Now read Does piracy matter?

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