The End of an Era
Notorious file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, best know for it’s illegal distribution of copyrighted materials and for giving rise to bittorrent through its hosting of millions of .torrent files, has stopped hosting all .torrent files and is instead switching over to magnet links. Magnet links differ in that they store no data, like .torrent files, and rather than linking to the location of a resource or webpage like normal links, they contain information about the location of the file or files you wish to download. This is a piss-poor description and if you want more information on magnet links, go here.
What magnet links will do, is make it MUCH more difficult to track who is uploading things, and who is downloading them as well. The old system of SUE SUE SUE!!!! no longer is working, and organizations like the RIAA and the MPAA are turning to lobbying bills like SOPA, ACTA, and PIPA to stop piracy. But even with a great amount of resistance to these bills, they still press on. How will the switch to magnet links affect all of this? Well this is pure speculation on my part, but as it becomes more difficult to track who is downloading and uploading materials, more bills, potentially worse bills, will be pressed through congress. The lobbying groups are so used to the old system that anything new only means profit loss to them (quite ironic when you see that distribution services like Valve’s Steam platform is one of the most successful of it’s kind). The logical answer would be to adapt, but of course this won’t happen. Thus the cycle will continue. Corporate powers will try to regulate the internet through legislation, and the Pirate Bay will grow even more.
And the Pirate Bay still stands firm, even with most of it’s founders in prison, and with many countries trying to block access to the site. It’s resillience has shown the world that the means of distribution need to change, because it’s not the products that are faulted (as billions of downloads would show).
Do you torrent music? Are you opposed to paying for these things, or are you just not getting what you want? What sorts of changes would you propose the music/film/games industries take?