Following mounting pressure from the US Movie Picture Association (MPA) a number of BitTorrent index sites have been taken down. According to this article on The Register, sites in Finland and the Netherlands have been raided by the Police. Quite how the Police ‘raid’ a website, what with it being an electronic concept that doesn’t physically exist in the Real World ™ I’m not quite sure. Hmmm…
The growth of P2P file sharing (Napster, Kazza, eDonkey, eMule, Gnutella, etc) has been huge. ISPs are reporting that upto 70% of all their traffic is P2P, outstripping more traditional traffic like web and email. Why? Because people are using it to get stuff for free. Some of it is legit; the latest Redhat disks for example. But most of the material ‘shared’ is copyrighted and therefore illegal.
I can understand why the various industries want to put a stop to it all. Yet piracy has and always will exist, but, with the advent of the Internet and some of the tools that have been created, it has become too easy. Install a bit of software, go to a website, type something into their search engine and click on the link. Doesn’t get much easier. These sites are also a ‘single point of failure’. Taking them down is the equivalent of cutting off the head.
It’s been done before. Napster was the darling of the MP3 file sharing World four or five years ago. Today it’s been re-invented as a legitimate service that is advertised on the British High Street. But before it became legit it was cut down to size by the MPA. Yet the downloaders didn’t go away . They simply looked for other tools, with the more technically adept people creating them where necessary. For a while it became a little harder.
So where now? IRC and DCC. That’s what you need! What are they I hear you ask… Told you that it was going to get a little harder! IRC is a web of chat servers on the Internet that can use a method called DCC to transfer files (.torrents for example). But the quality won’t be the same as was found on Suprnova as all of the Suprnova links were moderated. Therefore you’ll be more susceptible to viruses and poor quality content.
While making life harder and reducing the quality and experience of downloading copyrighted material sounds great for the various industries that have been fighting to remove these sites, in the end I feel that they will be the losers. Taking a stroll around the West End of London last Friday lunchtime there weren’t the number of shoppers you’d expect to see this close to Christmas. People are embracing the Internet and ordering from the comfort of their own home. Bad experiences are going to put people off and make them less likely to risk trying something new. It’s human nature.
So maybe the MPA has bitten its nose off to spite its face. Only time will tell.
Yawn. This rant has been written in the early hours of Monday morning and should be ignored 🙂