Piracy

jacobfg via Flickr Creative Commons

On February 25th, the Center for Copyright Information, in cooperation with America's five largest internet service providers, launched a new "six-strike" alert system they hope will change illegal downloading for good.

The Upside of Piracy...

May 14, 2012
(Photo by phreneticgamer via Flickr)

TV is big right now. Premium channel series like Mad MenGirls, and Game of Thrones are the stuff of water cooler and Twitter conversations, leaving those without access to cable in quandary…do they patiently await the iTunes, or Netflix release? Or give in, and illegally download fresh episodes? Even law-abiding viewers admitted to pirating Downton Abbey from British television before it made it to PBS.

There's a civil war going on in California. It's the north vs. the south — Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. And much like that other American Civil War, there are two different economic worldviews at stake. One of the highest-profile battles was fought last month, when large Internet sites like Wikipedia staged an online blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress.

The north won that battle, and for now, the legislation is on hold. But the war between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over how to deal with intellectual property is far from over.

Photo by Criterion, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Despite the spectacular congressional flop that was SOPA and PIPA, “piracy” is still a dirty word to most, with file-sharing sites like the Pirate Bay remaining in the eye of the storm and, of course, that made-for-TV takedown of Megaupload making international headlines a few weeks ago. It’s fair to predict we should expect more battles in the name of copyright protection  in the near future, but computer historian and writer Benj Edwards has a somewhat different take.