Friday, 23 November 2007

Sarkovsky in probably futile bid to stop online piracy

So the increasingly worried film and video industry isn't going to go down without a fight. And increasingly it looks like a war on multiple fronts as this time the French government are persuaded to throw themselves into the fight against global copyright meltdown.

That's some set of powers they've been granted - but ultimately these kind of draconian measures are just another step in an escalating arms race that may have ultimately have effects on all of us.

Currently it's reasonably easy for an ISP to spot a file-sharer - they'll do a massive amount of upward as well as downward traffic across their internet connection, but as more and more people use both legal and illegal file-sharing - remember even the BBC iplayer uses peer-to-peer traffic now - it'll get harder and harder to spot.

So maybe the ISP could then develop more sophisticated tools to analyse the actual traffic going back and forth, likely then the file-sharers will start building encryption into the file-sharing clients and suddenly nobody will have any idea what's going on.

By this point everyone will be using file-sharing under the safe knowledge that the only way to get caught is to leave the stuff on the drive when you get it fixed down at PC World - and a removeable hard-drive which you keep at home solves that problem for under fifty quid.

Will we see speculative raids on teenagers homes to confiscate computers just in case they might be breaking the law? Or encrypted transactions being banned on ISPs? Or the CIA diverting it's monitoring equipment from the war on terror to help out an ailing Hollywood?

If the friends of Osama Bin Laden can regularly post tapes with impunity, do we really think the fans of Amy Winehouse will struggle to avoid detection?

Of course not, and the chances are that the industry will - like the music business - have to throw in the towel and think of another business model. It may not be right - but it'd be about time.

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