Illegally viewing films and television shows online (as well as illegally listening to music) is one of those crimes that many people are guilty of. While there are an infinite number of legal sites available that will stream directly to your computer or smart TV, some people just don’t want to pay. When we rent a DVD (which is happening less and less), we’re always shown those fairly intensive legal warnings at the start of the disc, warning us of the catastrophic consequences of doing anything with the DVD other than watching it in a private residence. The technology involved in delivering both legal and illegal content via the Internet is evolving, and there are repercussions for all involved.
Peer-To-Peer File Sharing
With the advent of BitTorrent based peer-to- peer file sharing websites, it’s easier than ever to access content via the Internet, even if we’re not actually supposed to in many instances. While it was difficult to track peer-to-peer file sharing, it was not impossible. This is why groups like the Swedish based The Pirate Bay were accused of allowing users to view copyrighted material for free, by providing users with a selection of magnet links, directing them to where the desired material could be accessed and downloaded.
Pirates On Trial
The Pirate Bay has been blighted by legal issues, and its 4 founders were put on trial in Stockholm in 2009, which culminated in a guilty verdict. The 4 founders were all sentenced to a year in jail, and fines of $3.5 million. A subsequent appeal meant that the jail time was reduced while the fines were increased. Pirate Bay is still around, and has made a major operational decision to move to a cloud based system, meaning that content can still be accessed from a number of cloud based servers in secret locations around the world.
Moving To The Cloud
A move to cloud based storage means that The Pirate Bay can much more effectively protect themselves against future legal action, as any incriminating evidence is practically impossible to locate. The Pirate Bay simply operates a load-balancing server to give their users access to the content stored on a cloud system. The load-balancing servers are located in different, unspecified countries and the operators of the cloud system won’t even know what they’re hosting, as the information between the load-balancing server and the cloud is encrypted.
The Future Of Pirate Bay And The Cloud
The Pirate Bay recently suggested that they had moved primary operations to Pyongyang, North Korea, but this is suspected of being a hoax. It’s difficult for authorities to verify where the site is routing through, and it’s become practically impossible now that Pirate Bay has moved to the cloud system. It’s suspected that the site routes through Norway and Spain, although this has not been conclusively proven.
While advances in technology that allow users to access copyrighted material can be a major annoyance for film studios and record labels (and the filmmakers and musicians themselves), they should still have hope. Maybe the technologies that allow authorities to track illegal file sharing will also advance just as quickly.
About the Author: This is a guest post by Kate Simmons, a freelance writer and blogger on all things related to technology. She mostly focuses on data storage and gadgets in her writing. If her article got you interested, make sure you check out ONR.
License: Creative Commons image source