(Disclaimer: I would never advocate stealing copyrighted materials off the Internet. That would be wrong, and I’d never ever say that.)
I spent a lot of time in college rotting on Napster. Dorms offered me my first taste of high-speed broadband—the PCP of red-eyed ’net freaks. I stuffed my paltry hard drive with as many recordings and software apps as possible (and some nifty viruses, too).
Then Napster shut down and went “legit.” It was the shot heard ’round the world. Soon thereafter, ordinary people were getting six-digit invoices for copyright infringement. Other big-name file-sharing apps were shuttering doors, burrowing beneath a blanket of legal paperwork to die.
The latest hot-mess death was LimeWire (coincidentally, my Napster replacement), which finally succumbed to the RIAA after four long years.
One small step for big government, one giant leap into oblivion for pirates.
Lo and behold, these “thieves” aren’t so easily deterred. Shortly after LimeWire’s downfall, TorrentFreak discovered that LimeWire’s file-sharing competitors were experiencing a massive increase in downloads. The mutineers jumped ship only to find another vessel. TorrentFreak also gave a shout-out to gobs of alternative file-sharing applications: a clenched-fist vow to keep the American maxim of “gimme gimme gimme” alive—for now. After all, once the RIAA crushes out one service, it’ll only find another, and another, until the entire enterprise is forced deeper underground.
But is P2P file-sharing so abhorrent and morally corrupt? Or should recording industries and their ilk heed the philosophies of forward-thinking artists like Trent Reznor, who essentially invented the tiered pricing structure that starts as low as free?
So while I’d never recommend illegal downloads to anyone (cross my heart, hope to die), I certainly admire and respect the tenacity of those who are risking personal fortune and public shame to flip birds and get the latest for zilch.
More “Ones and Zeroes”: