File Sharing and Copyright Math
The entertainment industry is constantly asking for more and more restrictions on the downloading of movies and music. They are in danger of killing the goose that laid their golden egg.
It is widely accepted in the U.S. that downloading movies or music without permission is illegal. Acceptance of this principle, and the threats of lawsuits that are concomitant, has led Internet providers to try to stop users from downloading such content.
The providers are not monitoring their users’ content for such data but rather allow industry lawyers to report it.
Because it is possible to identify traffic to pirate sites, right down to the movie requested, the lawyers frequently report such traffic to providers. Not acting on such reports means the providers could be sued, even shut down.
Providers of illegal content are shut down whenever possible, but often find ways to resurrect themselves. Many have more than nine lives.
None of this would be possible if there wasn’t a huge craving for content. The industry was slow to react except than with law suits when file sharing appeared with Napster. Initially it was the only way to download music at all.
The movie industry was even slower. And when it did become possible to buy and download such content, prices were too high and the movie selection was updated too slowly. Now books have entered the equation.
Simultaneously, court enforcement of copyright laws took years.
Questions of secret agreements to set prices have led to Justice Department action.
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Now courts in several nations are effectively refusing to enforce such laws. The Australian supreme court last week refused to require Internet providers to enforce copyright infringement complaints filed by industry laws. The court said they had no direct way to stop the downloading, and had to rely on third party complaints of copyright infringement.