So as of now, MegaUpload has been taken offline, FileSonic does not allow file sharing anymore and Uploaded.to has its activities in the US. While the latter two are not down, I’d find it very difficult personally to upload files to a site that is already in a state of ‘damage control’. As we saw with MegaUpload, many users were left stranded and a lot of people lost their files. The suspension of these websites seemed spontaneous, and I would advise people to redownload their files, they might not be accessible for long.
These guys have it wrong. If they plan to reduce piracy by suspending “cyberlockers”, or direct download sites, then this will not work. The average ‘freetard’ consumes content through peer to peer services. Music is generally downloaded through the Gnutella network, where Limewire used to be the top client for accessing this network. Was suspension of Limewire LLC’s license to distribute the program successful? In part yes. The reason for this: peer to peer file sharing is the most popular form of piracy for the average person. The lack of success can be attributed to the architecture of the Gnutella network. The other use of peer to peer technology is torrents. The Pirate Bay is the biggee for RIAA and record companies. I am not going to debate whether piracy is wrong or right, but what I am going to say is it is this site solely that accounts for the most piracy alone. If record companies were attacking these peer to peer services, they might have a chance, but they don’t now, there is too much negative press.
By attacking the direct download sites, they are not capitalising on an economic goldmine. Those that are paying for filesharing websites clearly are not opposed to paying for content, but rather are discontent at the price of the content. I am not going to go into the “piracy does not account for a lost sale argument”, what I am trying to say is that those using a filesharing website would pay for say a subscription service. The record companies and film companies are stuck in the past with an old and incompatible economic model. Why are services like Spotify thriving? Because this company takes advantage of a new economic model, understanding that piracy stems from discontent with pricing and annoying ‘features’ such as DRM.
The ease of piracy also stems from peer to peer based sharing. Many ‘freetards’ are well acquainted with TPB, but probably less so with direct download sites.
All this will do is force more users onto P2P networks. They will also find more users using VPN or Newsgroups. When there is a will there is a way. If these websites can all of a sudden be taken down with such ease, why is there a need for PIPA and SOPA? I cannot help but feel the timing is all to convenient: take down, provoke attack, say from Anonymous, and then justify the introduction of the acts on the grounds of cyber terrorism and disorder.