Earlier today, the Swedish high court brought down the decision concerning the fate of the online file-sharing network The Pirate Bay.
Self-proclaimed as the world’s largest BitTorrent file sharing network, the team in charge was put to court in early February this year. Most of their supporters (somewhere in the millions) believed they would all walk. On the contrary, as the file-sharing team was charged this morning for “being aware that copyrighted material was being shared using the Pirate Bay and that they made it easy and assisted the infringements,” according to popular torrent news Web site “Torrent Freak.”
It’s worth mentioning that Facebook has banned all Pirate Bay links off of its social networking site. You can read more about that on Torrent Freak (link goes to a non-university Web site).
So what does this all mean? What does it mean for the typical non-pirating Internet user? What does it mean for the casual downloader of music? Worst-case scenario, the end of the Internet. I know I sound a little cynical, but where else can we go from here? Once we begin cracking down on crime on the computer and World Wide Web, where will it end? Once we’ve eradicated all infringing sources of information on the Internet? The Internet is all about freedom of information. It’s what makes people attracted to it. You no longer need to run down to the library and sign up for a (free and easy to sign up for) library card and then sift through aisles and aisles of pages and pages. A simple Ctrl+F (or Command+F for our Mac friends), can search through a thousand-page book in nanoseconds. Because The Pirate Bay is such a large and outstanding Web site, it’s in the views of this blogger that this can only go downhill. Internet piracy is a touchy subject, especially among college students. Why pay money (which they’re already low on, being college students) or have the hassle of registering when a simple search will result in whatever it is they’re looking for? It begins with the regulation of the information on the Internet…
But it’s not all death and shadows and crime and crying. On the converse, plenty of deserving artists are losing out on royalties, and leaks of hot new albums or singles can destroy a campaign. Especially with the onset of new blogs, Twitter and Facebook, it’s become even easier to share information. The Pirate Bay has alleged that they will continue to operate, but I don’t think it will be long before the music and movie industry come after the file-sharing program itself.
I hope I sound a little pessmistic because I honestly hope that this is the end of information regulation. My intuition tells me different, but only time will tell. And I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to buy a bunch of hard disks and fill them up before the Internet is all gone. Enjoy.