The movie industry’s latest effort to subjugate file sharers and the P2P networks by taking over LokiTorrent, a well-known BitTorrent site, is still a hot topic.
The entertainment industry’s principal weapon is fear. Like all bullies, it picks on people who can’t defend themselves. The RIAA and MPAA are currently using attacks on BitTorrent sites as a weapon to drive former customers back into channels it controls.
But that won’t happen. Things have gone too far. File sharers are well aware they stand about as much chance of being nabbed by entertainment industry enforcers as they do of winning the lottery or being struck by lightning, as Canada’s Dr. Markus Geisler emphasized in a recent academic study.
As the number of people sharing files increases, the chances of an individual becoming a victim decrease. Soon, Hollywood will be forced to abandon its intimidation tactics and the scarcely credible proposition that it’s being “devastated” by P2P.
Instead, it will have to acknowledge P2P networks and applications as primary vehicles of sales, marketing, promotion and delivery.
That will happen, but not without more tantrums on the part of the studios, software builders and labels.
The entertainment industry’s Canute-like efforts to turn back the future to maintain the past simply won’t work.
Until BitTorrent became wildly popular, most of the files being shared on the P2P networks — especially the movie files — were of low quality. Now, thanks to the mainstream media and several well-meaning individuals and organizations who have produced BitTorrent for Dummies software, its use has exploded.
The door is open. The cat is out of the bag. The horse has left the barn.
Applications and networks able to handle only low-res files are yesterday’s news. The mainstream media’s reports on P2P and BitTorrent are alerting more and more people to the possibilities, forcing the studios to react.
Wooing and Suing
Unfortunately for Hollywood, BitTorrent isn’t the only game in town. There are other apps and technologies in hand, or being developed, that allow the movement of large, VHQ (very high quality) digital media online.
As far back as 2003, Rain Networks engineers in Brazil used Windows Media 9 software to transmit a 90-minute movie by satellite from Rain’s central computer in So Paulo to cinemas across the country. And it took just 20 minutes.
The movie and music cartels are well aware of this. That’s why they’re trying to force a horse that bolted long ago back into a barn that doesn’t exist any more.
Sooner or later, they’ll have to create new business models and accept that customers can completely bypass them, if they so choose.
Soon, the cartels will wooing instead of suing — which is what they should have done in the first place.
Jon Newton, a TechNewsWorld columnist, founded and runs p2pnet.net, based in Canada, a daily peer-to-peer and digital media news site focused on issues surrounding file sharing, the entertainment industry and distributed computing.