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The tentacles of filesharing networks

Torrent Clients

Some days without news could mean that I prepare myself for the huge amount of news you will be able to read next thursday (26 November) due to the Convention Camp Internet conference in Hannover which I’m going to attend. That’s not the actual reason but a good excuse I guess Anyway, let’s take a look at the Internet’s filesharing microcosmos. When I was younger it all began with Napster and eDonkey. Later on, eMule, Kazaa and all the other fancy little programs evolved which made it easy to share files through an ad-hoc network without centralized structures such as servers. Nowadays we talk about Pirate Bay and Rapidshare. The difference is not very huge. The more sophisticated the methods of law enforcement become to shut illegal content within filesharing networks down, the more sophisticated do these filesharing networks become. These days, Pirate Bay announced that it shut down its BitTorrent Tracker. The new system is more sophisticated and does not need it anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that there are several legal ways of using filesharing networks. If you are on holidays with your family which is dispersed all over the world and you come home, upload your pictures and don’t know how to share it with them. So you encrypt it, upload it to$filesharing network and tell your family to download it. The more people have the files, the faster it is for the rest of your family to download it. Unfortunately for the authorities and the guys from RIAA most of the content is is either porn, illegal or both.

Why do I blog about it? I think it’s an interesting phenomena. Open and free tools are developed and adapted in order to maintain a free worldwide file exchange without having central servers. Sounds like the beginning of the Internet with redundant communication as major aim. These tools are then used mainly for illegal content – remember, all breakthroughs in research are first used/ thwartened by the military?

The authorities can’t really get grip on the filesharer and the guys providing these tools say: It’s just a tool – we have no influence what the people are sharing. If that’s true or not is questionable. The assumption is: You will never get rid of this kind of filesharing. Thus, why spending millions of Euros, filing lawsuits against individual people and developer instead of focussing on a better business model? I mean seriously, who wants to pay one dollar for a single song without the right to copy it, without the right to listen to it on every device he or she bought and without actually having a neat box on my shelf? The thing is: If you can’t beat the system – and obviously you can’t – think out of the box. Try to find the roots for sharing copyright protected material instead of wasting my time with annoying advertisements and pathetic business models.

Understand the nature of the Internet and I’m sure you will find a solution for every problem. The Internet is not real life. Things on the Internet are different. People who download a song illegal by using a filesharing network are not going to a music store and steal an audio CD (usually). Keep that in mind and try to deal with the Internet for what it is: A unique information and communication medium.

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