The Interwebs Strike Back!

The epic tale of The Pirate Bay, the infamous torrent hosting site, is indeed epic. I won't go into the full story here, but you can catch up here if you need to.

So, the Pirate Bay is in cloudy water right now as the website's new home has been prone to DNS errors, slowdowns, and various other annoyances. Lawsuits are flying left and right, and things generally don't look so great for our Swedish protagonists. The many and varied copyright enforcement agencies that succeeding in effectively pushing the The Pirate Bay around are sitting all high and mighty over their victorious conquest of the dastardly breakers of copyright law.

Rule 1 of Interwebism: Never underestimate the Interwebs (Yep, made that up. I'm the Ruler, that's why).

Long before the legal mess happened upon The Pirate Bay, they uploaded a backup of their entire index of torrents for anybody to download. One anonymous user who managed to grab that torrent has uploaded it to BTarena.net, effectively rendering the shutdown of The Pirate bay completely pointless. Not only is this index basically a copy of the original site, it is being distrubuted freely, meaning that instead of copyright cops dealing with one Pirate Bay, anyone can now have the ability to host the entire catalog of The Pirate Bay. By attempting to shut down the biggest purveyor of illicit media on the net, the copyright cops have effectively increased the amount of torrents downloaded on the Interwebs exponentially.

Thus, the T-shirt that sums it all up:

So, what can we learn from all this?

- Copyright law cannot be enforced on the Interwebs. It is simply a war of numbers. The only to stop it is a ban on all ISPs for .torrent file formats. Imagine trying to ban the distrubution of the .mp3 format and you'll see how futile an effort this would be.

- Let's say .torrent file were banned. Another format would simply pop up after it, and here we go again. Don't forget Usenet either. Another under-popularized distribution point of copyrighted material. It will never end. It is far easier to create a digital supply chain than it is to destroy one, so places like The Pirate Bay will always be one step ahead.

- Legal response is not the answer. Smart marketing is the answer. If you want people to pay for something that they can otherwise get for free, make it worth their while. Give them a reason to give you money. Offering something for a price that they can get for free elsewhere isn't much of an incentive.

- Revolutionize the Entertainment business model. Don't have your revenue dependent on sales. The Interwebs have already declared sales to be so 1990's so give up. Make like Google and provide free services while profiting from alternative sources. There is always a way to succeed in a capitalist environment. It's all about gauging supply and demand. In terms of digital media, supply is practically infinite, so there really isn't any good way to capitalize on that anymore. The only way would be to squelch supply, which was covered in a previous point.

The world of digital media distribution is constantly changing. The Interwebs have embraced that change wholeheartedly, and with gusto. Now the entertainment corporations need to drop the old and broken business model and join the kingdom of the Interwebs, or else all they risk losing everything to their own unwillingness to adapt.

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

Agreed. The Interwebs cannot be stopped!

Bwah Haaaaa Haaaa!!!

We've seen it over and over again. First Napster was forced to go legal, then Kazaa and Morpheus popped up. Then iMesh, Limewire, and the world of torrents.

Will it ever end? Nope. Not a change is Hades. Long live the Interwebs (and all the torrents that go with it).

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