File-Sharing And The Theory Of “Copyright Math”

This is a little rundown on how things evolved on the file-sharing stage, and why the entertainment industry is trying to kill it.

The entertainment industry is asking with each month that passes for more and more aggressive restrictions when it comes to downloading movies and music. But what they don’t realize is the fact that they’re very close of killing that very industry they’re trying to protect.

In the U.S. it is a known fact that downloading music or movies without permission is illegal. With that in mind, and the fact copyright lawsuits are the first in a series of attempts to stop pirates from sharing, ISPs also joined the fight, more or less willingly, in the sense that they’re aiding the industry’s lawyers.

Meanwhile, the lawyers are sending traffic reports (that include illegal downloads when spotted) to ISPs; if the internet provider does not act on these reports, it could be sued, or even shut down – that’s one of the reasons “willingly” is a key word.

On the other side, websites that provide copyrighted data are shut down constantly, but somehow they find a way to come back, in most cases.
The thirst for content started to show since Napster, but the industry’s slow response to fulfill people’s needs only led to copyright lawsuits. And things have gotten worse when buying and downloading such content became possible. Eventually, books were adopted too by the file-sharing organism.
At the same time, court enforcement of copyright laws took years. Questions regarding secret agreements to set prices have led to actions from the Justice Department.

Now courts in several nations worldwide are refusing to pass on such restrictive laws. The Australian Supreme Court, for example, refused last week to require ISPs to enforce copyright infringement complaints filed by industry laws. The court agreed that there’s no direct way to stop the downloading, at least not without breaking other laws, and had to rely on third party complaints of copyright infringement. That decision only led to calls for stronger laws.

An attempt to lobby the U.S. Congress to pass a similar legislation in 2011 failed because opponents said it would put at risk internet’s freedom. In addition, it also drew the public’s attention on what the industry was doing. According to New Media Rights 300.000 copyright lawsuits have been filed.

Rob Reid – entrepreneur and comic – explains in a TED talk: claims of industry losses cite absurd figures based on what he calls “copyright math”. He notes that instead of losing money, the entertainment industry is grabbing money from new sources – pay for view, movie rental stores, vending boxes, satellite TV fees.

And let’s not forget about independent artists that without alternative channels of distribution would have no chance of promoting and making money out of their work. But that, and many other things are not a priority in the industry’s agenda.

Check out the video of Rob Reid at TED: