Why Blocking Individual Piracy Sites Is Useless.

As some of you are already aware of, in the Netherlands the organization called “Brein” won a lawsuit that stated that “The Pirate Bay” should be blocked by ISP’s (Internet Service Providers). The first and only two (for now) victims are “XS4ALL” and “Ziggo”. The reason these two IPS’s were chosen was because the most proof could be collected that stated that the users of these two ISP’s were using “The Pirate Bay”, and were downloading illegal content (although downloading illegal content from the internet is not illegal in Holland (uploading is). This makes this decision a bit strange by the way….)

Basically the result is that XS4ALL and Ziggo need to block the IP addresses linking to “The Pirate Bay”. Also, if “The Pirate Bay” changes or adds a new IP to their list (DNS records), “Brein” is allowed to ask XS4ALL and Ziggo to block this new IP. XS4ALL and Ziggo are in that cased obligated by law to also block the new IP.

Over the last few day’s some movement has been happening. Anonymous has published an video about their disagreement, anti-piracy.nl has been down for the last two day’s (because, and i quote: “fanmail”. (Dutch) Source: https://twitter.com/#!/StichtingBREIN/status/157228524258852865) users are angry, and Dutch citizens question the political consequences.

So what does this decision actually mean? Is this a good reason to be angry just because a website that is offering illegal content is being blocked? Is this censorship? Is it a useful move? What does this mean for the future of the internet?

This is a big issue but I’ll try to keep it short. Please feel free to share your opinion in the comment section ;).

I don’t think this issue has any big consequences for the near future. All that has happened here is that an organization (“Brein”) made a legal move into blocking websites that provide illegal and illegally obtained data. This is something we will probably see much more in the future and on a bigger and international scale too. This is not censorship but simply fighting crime. By the way, websites are already being blocked – I don’t think blocking child porn or websites that provide you information about building bombs can be seen as censorship. – This is in the common interest of civilians and victims. The only problem is, is that the current download model is accepted and is not being seen as illegal. I think that this is also where the music industry needs to take their responsibility. The music industry didn’t catch up with the quick changing digital environment. They are still behind (remember this is a multi-billion dollar industry). The music industry (yes “Brein” you are part of this) needs to stop forcing an outdated model on there customers and need to adapt (only the fittest will survive). And they have to do this quick! The internet gives everybody the possibility to be connected within seconds. Some don’t realize that this technology is a gift and can be used in various ways to promote and sell products or services. The music industry should welcome this technology with open arms, not fight against it. Piracy has always existed and it will always do. But the internet made it possible to do this on a bigger scale (but also made the crime (piracy) more transparent). But don’t forget, also reaching your audience as an artist can be done on a bigger scale using the internet. So is it a fair assumption to say that piracy but also sales have increased because of the internet? For those in the music industry, change your model quick! Create good and cheap alternatives and people will buy it! You already see significant differences in the amount people buy music since iTunes gained popularity. Now do the same with movies and you’ll see the profit increase. But its of course not fair to just blame the industry. Everybody who downloads illegal content is aware of the fact that nothing is being given to the person who works hard to provide you this product. If you like it, buy it. People work hard and lets be fair, 10 dollars for an album? 20 bucks for an application? 5 euro to rend a movie? Bitch please, don’t tell me that you don’t have that money.

But we still have a problem. We can change all we want but at the moment we cannot prosecute these websites/website owners. There is not an international law (yet) that allows prosecution of cyber criminals. That is why we have to stick to solutions within our own borders. The problem with this is though that ISP’s are asked to serve a law enforcement role. This is where things go wrong. You cannot ask from businesses to serve this role. Blocking or taking down websites that provide or serve an illegal cause should be dealt with. But this should be done by an government organ. This issue goes hand in hand with the part that “Brein” is able to provide new IP addresses to add to the blacklist. The whole process that law enforcements should deal with is for a big part handed over to two private organizations. This is wrong and unacceptable. What we need is an international cyber law, and quick! Next to that, blocking individual websites is a useless, expensive and time consuming activity. The minute you take one down two other will pop up. We need to find a solutions for the root of the problem, not the result of it.

So in short: 1. The music industry needs to change there model (cheap and accessible). 2. People need to realize that there are (already) good alternatives (and that piracy is illegal) 3. Blocking websites based on IP or DNS is useless, time consuming, expensive and a temporary solution. Stop wasting money on this stupid activity and spend your money and time in solving the root of the problem.

Cheers, Ruben.