Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Feargal the perfect cousin Pt. II: Feargal squeezes a balloon

The thing about the FBI going after megaupload etc at the behest of copy right owners is that it attacked a means of distributing/accessing pirated material rather than the demand.

The internet being what it is, when one thing gets closed down people will quickly find other means of meeting/satiating said demand. And lo a cool mate kindly sent me the link to this article about how even before Kim Dotcom gets done "Anonymous, Decentralized and Uncensored File-Sharing is Booming" .

Now just think about that catchy title and what it means: Megaupload? Identifiable individuals uploading stuff and people who download it leaving all sorts of IP trails. Now? Its increasingly anonymous, decentralised and uncensored.

Another thing is that internet locker companies did and do scrutinise, to varying degrees, whatever gets uploaded to their servers. Plus, with people frequently accessing the necessary links via forums, there's an additional layer of policing by downloaders and forum members. Were or are either of these things perfect? Nope. Good? Probably not. A something that was better than nothing? FoSho and definitely better than anything that's anonymous and uncensored.

So does this rapidly developing situation mean megaupload and its ilk should have been left alone? If honest no not really. But, was it bloody obvious beforehand that this would happen? You betcha (e.g. It’d also be quite cool to get a handle on the unintended consequences of going after easy targets/encouraging people to go underground to get pirated material.)

And were the practical consequences anticipated and planned for? Duh! These are Americans we're talking about, so that'll have been shock and awe plus whatever words of "wisdom" dear Feargal had to say on the subject.

Presumably what we'll see in due course are various cat and mouse attempts to use the law to close down the alternative methods that develop. That and businesses still running with a megaupload style model being awful careful about the jurisdictions they keep their shit in.

But, in the meantime, well the media congolomerates appear to have used their influence over democratic and legal processes to get what they wanted; the creation of an enviroment that's now pushing more and more people towards anonymous and decentralised means of distributing uncensored material.

I reckon this is a bad thing because it's pushing ordinary punters wanting to engage in the "relatively" harmless pursuit of downloading a screener of the latest Hollywood blockbuster towards less savoury characters, places and practices. It will also generate more cash for these other people and places as well, one obvious parallel being prohibition in - you guessed it - America.

As for the media conglomerates, they did what they did because their instinctive approach to anything really is predicated on aggresive recourse to law and dictating to consumers; they appear incapable of building credible business models to meet an obvious global demand. They did this because they are dicks.

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