The battle against online piracy has witnessed fierce action in the recent months, including calls for implementing the most draconian measures that would shake the foundations of the Information Age itself.
The debate rages on: Is copying software and music really stealing billions of dollars from their respective industries? Is it, in fact, promoting them? Is it more or less like the library system where stuff is shared by people?
No matter what stance you take, the fact of the matter is that a significant number of software and music creators are ready to fight on to protect their creativity from being stolen, even if that means getting caught up in a perpetual cat and mouse game.
When matters are taken to the courts and rulings go in favor of the complainants, broadband service providers are obliged to comply. Indian ISP’s swiftly moved in to block access to sites that were blacklisted by a Supreme Court order, with Torrent and video sharing sites the chief targets. Interestingly, while many Indian Internet users reported blocked access to such sites, users of the state-owned telecommunications provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) claimed continued access.
In the aftermath of the censorship actions, hacktivists claiming to belong to Anonymous launched DDOS attacks on major Indian sites, resulting in nothing more than a few headlines. Apparently, DDOS attacks on these lines have received considerable support in spite of the fact that they are illegal under most Information Technology laws and harmful for the privacy of participants.
Elsewhere, in the UK, leading broadband provider O2 decided to comply with a High Court order to block The Pirate Bay (TPB), the infamous file sharing site that has been on the watchlist of anti-piracy crusaders for long. However, after BT joined all major ISPs in the UK in shutting the doors for TPB several weeks later, the group announced a new set of IP address that would bypass the ban. Furthermore, to nobody’s surprise, hacktivists vented their anger and managed to grab attention by hitting back, with Virgin Media reported to be taken offline for an hour during early May.
Where is the War Headed?
TPB has claimed a boost in both publicity and membership since the UK action; broadband providers are simply keeping mum.
While it is understandable that most telecommunication companies are in favor of respecting the authorities in the countries they operate, the need of the hour is to come up with a solution that promotes legitimate alternatives and dampens the interest in the intractable game that we are currently witnessing.
Should product costs be lowered? Should incentives be provided to loyal customers? Should the global fight against file sharing only be intensified?
The discussion is going to only heat up further.