VPNs and the Future Of File-Sharing

Ever since Napster was taken down more than a decade ago, file-sharing websites had come and unfortunately disappeared. However, it is said that file-sharing can’t be truly stopped, and people have turned to VPNs in order to share files.

A study from Lund University in Sweden shows that there has been a 40% increase in the young sector (15 to 25-year olds) using these services starting with 2009.

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are secured networks that put to good use the public telecommunication infrastructure, including the internet, to provide access to a central organizational network. These private networks offer firewalls and encryption technology to keep your personal information safe. As such, they’ve become quite popular, and are now used to share files and digital data anonymously.

The study, carried out by the Cybernorms research group at Lund University, shows that more than 700.000 Swedes use anonymous VPN services, such as Pirate Pay’s iPredator – an increase since 2009 when only 500.000 of Sweden’s citizens were using this type of service.

In 2011 New Zealand enacted copyright legislation to block illegal file-sharing, and VPNs could become a safe alternative for sharing both illegal and legal digital content.

Purevpn said in a statement:

“For those you who want to use P2P file sharing for legal and personal purposes (and not for any illegal activities), we recommend using VPN service to change your IP location. Choosing a secure VPN connection would enable people to share files in a more secured way. The problem is, and always will be when it comes to holding an alternate IP address, it will be even more difficult to trace down the offender who uses the internet secretly. In the end, the onus lies with the netizens to use the available internet services for legal purposes only and avoid illegal file sharing using VPN as well.”

Despite these measures of keeping you safe while online, it’s likely that the music industry will increase their efforts to stop piracy. They’ve already shifted their focus from going after individual file-sharers to scoping the services that facilitate copyright infringement.

“VPNs could become the next front in the battle against piracy,” independent music analyst Mark Mulligan told BBC News.

Besides Sweden, the UK, Spain, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Denmark and Italy have joined the war against piracy and The Pirate Bay.