Turbulent Times for Filesharing

News in a particular field is often described as a roller-coaster to many journalists.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Sometimes there are a few small ups and downs along the way, but when things suddenly fall quiet for some time, it’s often an indicator that there’ll be some big waves in the near future. These big waves are definitely happening. Before all this action took place, the biggest things happening were the copyright issues being discussed at the SPP summit. Then things took an interesting turn.

Facing legal pressure, TorrentSpy started blocking US traffic, then congress tried to put blame on LimeWire’s creator for copyright infringement. While big news indeed, it pales in comparison to what happened next.

That big event is the Media Defender email leak. Many revelations arose from the Media Defender email leak including illegal hacking, infiltration of private sites, the possibility that certain well known block lists might not be as bullet-proof as some might have hoped and the relative ease of defeating future Media Defender floods. Many sites have cropped up in the wake of the email leak to host these revelation goldmines as well as further leaks including the source code for anti-piracy tools used and a massive database that details all the dummy files posted on the Gnutella network.

While that bit of news worked considerably in favor of file-sharers, other developments occurred like the shutdown of major servers on the eDonkey2000 network, leaving the network weaker. While not good news for file-sharers on the network, there are efforts taking place to replace the servers.

CIPPIC (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic) issued a report suggesting that legitimate DRM-encoded music is likely to violate privacy laws, thus further defeating the major copyright industry’s old argument that buying legitimately means the user will never encounter any kind of malware (including spyware which some argue in DRM-encoded music.) While this happened, ISOHunt started blocking US traffic. Another site, Demonoid, started blocking Canadian traffic – all reportedly due to legal pressure.

Now a major case by the recording industry was won.

Some have argued that a file-sharing case would be won by a trial-by-jury setting. Unfortunately for file-sharers, that never came to pass during the Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas case. Interestingly enough, it seemed to provide, in terms of rulings, a contrast to the Capitol Records, Inc. vs. Debbie Foster and Amanda Foster case where a file-sharer, symbolically, won against the recording industry.

While there have been events in the past, it seems power, money, and influence are on the move these days. Where things end up after all these current events take place is anyone’s guess. Despite things being this uncertain, there is one thing that is certain, the file-sharing saga is far from over.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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