Pirates Bay Looting Hollywood’s Black Gold

Date : 2008/01/31 In - Tech Op-Ed - Tags : , ,
pirates bay

The Pirate Bay is under a lot of pressure these days. The founders of the P2P site could be facing a $4 million-dollars fine for “intent to violate copyrights”. The thing that makes P2P file-sharing software providers untouchable is that their servers only contain links to sources where content can be downloaded.

Swedish authorities are prosecuting The Pirate Bay by arguing that they generate advertising revenues indirectly on tools serving illegal downloading purposes. A conversation started on Techcrunch to figure out how much exactly they were making out of those ads – educated guesses aim between 1 and 4 million a year.

BBC Click’s Dan Simmon has video interviewed the Pirates a few weeks ago. Quite surprisingly, the founders don’t like to be called outlaw, saying that they are only being fair by allowing users to get the most out of what the Web has to offer.

I think this sends us back to Steal This Film II, where the League of Noble Peers perfectly explains why there’s a copyrights war going on right now. Hollywood studios don’t really care that much about people getting movies for free, but they truly care about not controlling those channels of free distribution.

steal this film 2As the narrator says in the documentary:

In fighting file-sharing, the entertainment industry is fighting the fundamental structure of the Internet.

And someone quoting Mark Getty of Getty Images says:

Intellectual Property is the oil of the 21st century

The Pirate Bay trial is not about getting a few million dollars back for Hollywood. It is a form of war on the control of copyrights. Hollywood wants to keep control over the incremental value of the material they produce. P2P file-sharing is probably the most effective way to distribute movies at the lowest cost possible. How could Hollywood not like this?

I’m sure that if Bay Pirates were sharing their ad revenues with Hollywood’s studios, Hollywood would become a big fan of P2P file-sharing. They would even probably become the Pirates main advertiser. But for this, The Pirate Bay has to admit they indirectly distribute copyrighted content. It simply is a game of who’s going to drop the gun first.

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