As most of the web seems to already be aware, Elite Torrents has been shut down. I never used the site, so I can’t say I’m really too fussed, except for one thing:
Why is the Department of Homeland Security bothering to fuss around with a torrent site when they haven’t even bothered to secure their chemical and power plants from legitimate terrorist threats?
I don’t like being the kind of person who goes for the knee-jerk ‘but what about the terrorists?’ answer to everything, but if the US government is going to be arguing that terrorism is the greatest threat to their country and invading other nations (who are conveniently oil-rich) on this basis then you’d think that they might be able to set their own internal priorities on this track instead of wasting their time trying to shut down P2P networks, which in themselves may yield valuable software developments to survive in the event of a serious attack on a nation.
The internet was originally designed to be a distributed network with a high rate of redundancy (notice how I’m avoiding make post-dot com bubble jokes here) so that in the event of a nuclear strike on the US the communications networks would survive. Well, in the last few years things have become a lot less distributed with things like DNS being run from only a handful of main location, so something like P2P may be a legitimate method of thinking about new ways to use the internet for communication, or at least it may open some new and interesting avenues.
Yes, copyright theft is still theft. I own one film that was downloaded from the web. It is Chronicles of Riddick (UK link) (US link) and I saw it before it was released in the UK. I then saw it at the cinema when it was released. I then bought the US version (with extra scenes which I think are really good additions to the story) on import DVD. I wouldn’t necessarily have gone to see it at the cinema if I hadn’t already seen and enjoyed the downloaded version. I also dragged along a group of friends to see it. So… That’s a clear example of how piracy damages the movie industry, isn’t it? After all, they must have lost out if I saw a pirate version…
Sometimes giving things out for free gets you more money in the long run. IBM are moving into making a lot of their code free for people to use because they think it will help the industry and they hope to make their money back by selling tech support. There are more ways to get money from ‘free’ things than meet the eye, so maybe the film industry just needs to adapt to the times instead of fighting against them which will leave the Department of Homeland Security time to do their real job rather than scampering around behind the legs of flocks of copyright lawyers.