Tag Archives | file sharing

File Sharers Get Religious In Sweden

If there’s one thing you can say about chronic file-sharers, they have interesting ways of trying to legitimize their activities. The craziest example of this so far is a group of Swedish file sharers who have sucessfully petitioned the government to have file-sharing considered as a legitimate religion. Yep, you read that right.

The Church of Kopimism holds sacred the symbols Control-C and Control-V (for you non-keyboardists, thats the shortcuts for “copy” and “paste”.). It was originally organized by college student Isak Gerson in 2010, but the Swedish government rejected their attempts to be officially recognized twice before finally accepting them recently as an recognized religion, TorrentFreak reports.

Continue Reading →

Be the first to comment

AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon May Start Punishing File Sharers

People who illegally download movies and music may soon face more than just empty threats from their Internet service providers.

Some of the largest ISPs in the United States are close to agreements with the entertainment industry to crack down on piracy with stiffer punishments, according to CNet. Repeat offenders could face throttled bandwidth speeds or limited access to the Internet, or they may have to attend programs to learn about the subtleties of copyright law.

Continue Reading →


Box.net Gets Syncing

Box.net–the collaborative, file-sharing service for business that likes to position itself as a scrappy, cloud-based alternative to Microsoft’s SharePoint–is adding a syncing feature. Rather than having to upload and download documents in a browser, users will be be able to run an applet called Box Sync that shuttles files back and forth in the background, a la services such as SugarSync:

For now, the feature is only available for Windows (a Mac version is in the works) and only for subscribers who have a Business account, which costs $15 a month. (Box also has a free version with 1GB of storage.) Box Sync complements existing Box features such as its nifty Web-based file viewer.


One Virgin Music Store Dies. And Another Opens.

Sad CDThe timing must be coincidental, but file these two news stories under signs of the times: The last two Virgin Megastores in the U.S. finally closed yesterday–a development which wasn’t entirely due to the slow death of physical media, but was surely be remembered as a significant moment in the ongoing digitization of entertainment. And today, Virgin Media–a UK ISP, phone carrier, and TV provider that’s another arm of the far-flung, loosely-joined Virgin empire–is announcing what may be the first above-board music service that lets you pay a flat fee not only to stream all the music you like but also to download it in MP3 form and keep it, even if you cancel the service. The company has signed up Universal as a music provider, and says it’s working on getting other major music companies on board. It’s going to be available later this year in the UK. But in theory, anyhow, it’s the format of music service we’d all choose, given the opportunity.

What’s the catch? Well, the press release on the new service says this:

The new service reflects the shared commitment of Virgin Media and Universal Music to keep step with growing demand for online music in an increasingly digital world. In parallel, the two companies will be working together to protect Universal Music’s intellectual property and drive a material reduction in the unauthorized distribution of its repertoire across Virgin Media’s network.

This will involve implementing a range of different strategies to educate file sharers about online piracy and to raise awareness of legal alternatives. They include, as a last resort for persistent offenders, a temporary suspension of internet access. No customers will be permanently disconnected and the process will not depend on network monitoring or interception of customer traffic by Virgin Media.

Not explained: How Virgin can identify you as a file swapper and suspend your service if it isn’t watching your online activity in some fashion. I don’t have any sympathy for the plight of music thieves whose activities may be foiled by technological means. But I wouldn’t want to give Virgin Media my money as a customer without a clear idea of exactly how it’s identifying file sharers and interfering with their activities. Absent a clear explanation of what’s going on, there’s an Orwellian tinge to the idea. Call it Big Virgin is Watching You.


Does Piracy Make Music Better?

Sometimes roundabout logic does makes sense. A BBC feature article published today is arguing that illegal file sharing has exposed a generation of artists to a infinity of influences that makes today’s bands better, strengthening the music business.

Robin Pecknold, who is the lead singer of the band “Fleet Foxes,” told the BBC that file sharing helped him discover music that inspired him–music which he may not have otherwise heard. “As much music as musicians can hear, that will only make music richer as an art form,” Pecknold told the BBC.

I can’t argue with him (well, aside from the stealing part). The Internet has revolutionized music discovery. It is shocking that the music industry never envisioned that broader exposure to music through the Web could yield some positive developments. Where were the music lovers in the business when the industry stood opposed to the Web?

Don’t get me wrong, something had to be done about Napster. There was a substantial loss of intellectual property happening, and piracy is not excusable. However, there was another way: The industry could have embraced the medium instead of going to war with grannies.

That tactic has been successful before. DVDs are a good example of copyright holders working in partnership with technology companies. It’s an obvious conclusion, but the music industry has made some major missteps with how it has handled the Web. Maybe the pirate artists will help save it.