Online piracyOnline piracy

Piracy has always been a problem for software publishers and game makers, but over the years other parties have been struck with the same problem. We have the music industry fighting the spread of illegally copied music with formats such as MP3, WMA and OGG.

One of the organizations fighting this battle is RIAA, the leading organ for music artists in the US. RIAA has during the years intensified its efforts to minimize online piracy. There has been new technology that has been developed to make sure people aren’t able to spread their legally downloaded music with DRM and intensified efforts and cooperation with ISPs to catch huge contenders in the piracy scene.

Not only that, but the spreading of big Hollywood blockbusters before they hit the movie screens has increased vastly in the last few years, and the MPAA is fighting this battle with claws, scissors and whatnot. Even though Kazaa and other pirate resources have been removed, it is still easy to find and download illegal material.

Just before Christmas, there was a huge raid against pirate sites that hosted bit torrents. One of the internet’s most visited pirate sites, Suprnova was shut down along with well over 200 other sites. This was made possible with the cooperation of people from RIAA, MPAA and ISPs all over the world.

A majority of the bandwidth used on the internet is not used for web surfing, e-mail downloads or other legal activities. It’s used for online piracy. Of course, this has a huge economical impact on the firms involved and it’s in their best interest to get rid of this growing problem.

Just recently, an unofficial program was made available for users of iTunes to download their music without the content being tagged with DRM information. Thus, the users were able to copy their legally downloaded content to other sources, such as others PCs or to other users. I can understand the record industry’s need for the implementation of DRM, but it severely limits the end user’s ability to handle their content in the way they want.

If I download some music from say iTunes, that I’ve paid for, I want this music to be available to me everywhere. That be on my desktop, my laptop or my portable MP3 player. With current DRM implementations, this is not possible. I would really wish for a world without the need for such.

But what about the fight against piracy, will it ever be won? In short, I have to say; “No way in hell!”. It’s a battle that can’t be won, there will always be ways to limit it in some ways, but every technology made by man can be broken by man. Nothing is unbreakable, everything can be tampered with. And by that I mean, everything.

Given enough time and resources, computer nerds across the world will find ways to avoid copy protections and other similar technologies. I’m not saying software publishers, record companies and Hollywood should stop the battle, but they have to face the fact that the problem will always be there.

The key to this issue is to make it possible for everyone to co-exist in the same sphere, and develop solutions that work for the average consumer. By that, I mean a more versatile and flexible DRM system, that makes downloadable music and movies cheaper. They have to set a price line that will be very competitive with buying the actual CD or DVD.

The fact is that buying music or movies over the Internet means that you suffer a quality loss from buying the real deal. This is a sacrifice I sure as hell don’t want to pay extra for, I want a discount. Thus the price line has to be much keener than the real deal. If the big boys and their lawyers will listen to me, well, hell no. They’ve probably never heard of me. But spread the word, say your opinion.

Start the revolution! Make us be heard! Only if they listen will they be able to minimize their problem with online piracy.

By Jostein Elvaker Haande

"A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular" - Adlai Stevenson

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