After spending years turning piracy into a state affair and a business opportunity for copyright parasites, the media majors must now face a more and more obvious reality: fighting the sharing of digital contents on-line, on the Web or P2P networks bears no positive result at all. At least according to a growing collection of “official” researches and not just to sharing activists. The industry’s reply? More anti-piracy, more complaints and even more years in jails for wrongdoers.
The content industry can rely on a growing number of tools for trying to censor, sue and damage the users of file-sharing, but said users have more and more ways to share, search and download music, videos or software as well. The Pirate Bay (TPB) is on of the most known names and one of the majors’ main targets as always, yet the old lion of BitTorrent P2P has got its own problems and it has to give way to competition as the most popular torrent site on the Internet.
Since coming back on-line after the raid in a Swedish data center/nuclear bunker at the end of 2014, The Pirate Bay (TPB) has to endure a sailing by sight ridden with perils, dangerous waves and the usual zealots of the content industry ready to do anything to eradicate the most known symbol of BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) from the Internet forever. Anyway not all the efforts against “piracy” are focused on TPB, and not all the news coming from the P2P frontline are bad news.
Updated snapshots from the endless war of the copyright industry against file sharing over peer-to-peer networks: the so called “graduated responses” for reeducating pirates don’t work, are good for nothing and rather expensive? Better spend even more money; The Pirate Bay (TPB) is the ultimate evil and must be put down whatever it takes? The Swedish Bay rises again and again from its ashes despite the police raids, the controversy and the trouble in managing traffic. This and more in the new episode of the series tracking the lobbies’ unsuccessful attempts to erase something no one has ever been able to control.
The industry is at war against “piracy”, unauthorized releasing and on-line sharing of digital contents, a war fought by using every possible mean and relentlessly abusing propaganda, censorship and political lobbying. But it’s a war worth nothing, and when the majors succeed in restraining access to particularly popular “pirate” sites like The Pirate Bay the net result is that absolutely nothing changes.
The increasing fight against “illegal” downloads on file sharing networks I was talking about the last time is speeding up to a feverish rate, and the new lords of digital steam go to any lengths to prove than on-line copyright is worth more than everything - even more than open Internet access. The industry’s most used tool against unauthorized P2P continues to be censorship, and if that wasn’t enough the MAFIAA (MPAA+RIAA) collective and similar organizations are quick to switch to threats and power abuse.
More than four years have passed since the last time Sir Arthur’s Den dealt with the war against digital “piracy” on P2P networks, and in these few years the clash between the contents industry, users and promoters of the aforementioned contents free sharing became worse and worse. The united lobby of MAFIAA (and ideal yet scary fusion of RIAA and MPAA) did its worst by asking for monstrous monetary compensations, by throwing the releasers in jail and by trying to affirm the idea that “crime” against copyright doesn’t pay anymore.
A few days ago, while summing up the many efforts made by Italian politicians to censor Internet and demolish netizens’ civil rights, I also took the occasion to foresee what could have been happened in the future after the final approval of the infamous three strike law by the French Parliament. What happened in the past days simply confirms the legitimacy of those anticipations and opens the doors, in Italy too, to the ultimate surrender of law and common good to the partisan interests of copyright parasites.
Surely 2009 is the most sensitive year for peer-to-peer and the industry crusade against free on-line contents sharing. In Italy we have the previously discussed issues with the incompetence and obscene servility of our representatives, and moving the attention toward Europe things get even worse if possible. Two in particular are the noticeable questions of these weeks in Europe, the conviction of The Pirate Bay crew and the approval in France of the Sarkozy doctrine also known as three strike law or HADOPI law.
The past weeks have marked an unparalleled escalation of the well known inadequacy and inability of the Italian institutions to deal with the Internet, to live their relation with digital technologies by following logic and rationality rather then emotionalism and violence. Conversely our “dear” rulers and members of Parliament have recently shot out a series of amendments, law drafts and opinions to make you goggle if you believe in the importance of Internet as a democratic tool.
No, SIAE has nothing to do with the draft of the bill released by Altroconsumo in the past days. Replying to the clamour provoked by the document floating on-line, a supposed anticipation of the final work of an anti-piracy committee that has just been established, the organization now denies any authorship on it. The denial, anyway, does not explain anything about who wrote that document nor why it is so ostentatiously unbalanced in favour of the interests of SIAE itself.
Congratulations, congratulations, the Technical committee against digital and multimedia piracy is born in the Italian ruling rooms, seriously determined to defeat the file sharing phenomenon and above all to have a special care for the industry associations’ desires, whose only purpose has always been to pull out money from any single bit moved on-line. SIAE (the Italian RIAA) is already giving rigorous orders on what to do, so much for the good intentions on the will to listen to representatives of all the parts interested to the matter.
RIAA and the recording majors have said it pretty clearly, that they plan to abandon the path of the legal persecution of single file sharing users to focus on the direct cooperation of ISPs. Waiting to see what such strategy shift will actually mean, for now the USA labels association is engaged on more fronts including those courts which have served for its crusade against P2P.
The holidays between the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 haven’t been particularly pleasant for RIAA and the music majors: the America most hated organization (at least as of Internet) is (supposedly) about to change its legal strategy against file sharing by directly engaging providers, but meanwhile one of these ISP raises a monetary issue that does not promise an easy start for the bizarre joint venture between copyright owners and connectivity providers.
In what sounds as an unexpected and dangerous development of the lasting industry’s war against the P2P users, last Friday the Wall Street Journal has reported that RIAA, after years of intimidations, mistakes, twistings and abuses of the USA judiciary system now wants to change strategy, dismissing its mass lawsuits campaign to focus on the “next level” of the prearranged plan with which the majors would like to survive to the technological progress while keeping forever the privileges from a past (anyone should have this clearly in mind) that will never come back.
That the legal crusade of USA recording companies against P2P haven’t obtained any practical result until now is an hardly refutable matter of fact. If this wouldn’t be enough RIAA, the well-known labels organization and the most active in the harsh defense of copyright at the cost of repeatedly charging the dead and innocent people, will soon have to face daunting judicial adventures, potentially able to bury the massive lawsuits campaign under accusations of unconstitutionality, conspiracy, abuses, fraud and more.
The Italian Pirate Party, a non-profit association born in the wake of the broader European initiative to reform the intellectual property, wants to look very closely at the investigations occurred during the Pirate Bay block, turning away the many, still lasting doubts on the behaviour of the tax police agents thereupon the connections redirection toward an Internet address owned by the recording labels.
The USA recording companies organization is upset that Michael Davis, District Judge involved in the only case from the legal crusade against file sharing ever gone to court, have reconsidered his decisions ruling for a retrial. RIAA now asks that the Capitol v. Thomas case, being defendant the single mother of three Jammie Thomas, isn’t reopened before the judge have taken into consideration the majors’ appeal request.
Roberto Maroni’s occupation is Minister of the Interior for the Italian government, but in his spare time he enjoys to listen to music and, above all, to download it on the P2P. He has never hided it, and he has confirmed this attitude in the last days too, during a meeting with the press at Varese, where he has attended before his participation to Il Festival del Racconto. Accidentally but not too much, the Minister statements come after the establishment of the well known committee against digital piracy under the Prime Minister’s Office, which would like just to fight the file sharing that Maroni periodically advocates.
As widely reported in the news, the preventive seizure (call it “censorship”, “block”, or whatever) of the access to The Pirate Bay from the Italian territory has finally been revoked by a decree of Bergamo Court. Called upon by the Bay admins’ lawyers, the Reexamination Judges have reconsidered the legitimacy of the previous ruling of the Court, deciding that the seizure was essentially illegal. Many, almost anyone have rushed to crow for TPB and the P2P in general, clearly having no clues on the fact that a new storm is about to appear on the horizon, a storm even more dangerous of the simple block of a single website, potentially capable of making, if possible, more tightening and unfair the yet absurd law against file sharing effective in Italy.