March 1, 2009

Pirates of the World, Arrrrr!

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Judging by the absolute chaos going down in Sweden, I'd say we're well into the fighting stage. Conflicts of interest are popping up like flowers, the FUDslingers are in full swing, and The Pirate Bay's pagehits are skyrocketing. The RIAA/MPAA are backed against a wall, their remaining options few; to vanquish file-sharing, the Internet would need to be transformed from an information free-for-all to something akin to Vista's DRM pipelines. Failing that, they would need the compliance of every last government and ISP on Earth. Even that might not do it; throw mobile mesh networks and increasingly popular (and cheap!) netbooks into the mix, and you've got a recipe for file-sharing flash mobs.

The recording industry might win this battle, but they won't win the war. TPB's outright defiance is building a critical mass of support, and all the budget-horror pyramid charts in the world can't do a lick of good against that.

(As an aside: your opinion of him regardless, rms has a Pretty Good Plan for reasonable copyright laws - far more sensible than his protracted debate over the semantics of Linux vs. GNU/Linux. Check it out.)

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