There has been much discussion in the media of late surrounding the enforced ISP blockade of torrent and file sharing websites such as Pirate Bay. Following this, Torrent Freak have recently published what they claim to be a leaked crisis report from the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) suggesting the music industry is arming itself for a full blown assault on the online piracy industry.
The weapons in the IFPI arsenal are said to consist of the following quintet of offensive strategies - Take Down, Disruption, Investigation, Lobbying and Litigation. The report suggests the federation will refine the rulebook on ISP’s behaviour towards file sharing piracy websites (part of the ‘Take Down’ strategy). This will include forcing all ISP’s to block all infringing websites.
The report has already provoked strong reaction online – from music fans to those concerned about the openness of the internet. Putting aside any debate about the liberty of the internet or ethics over file sharing, from a purely logistical perspective such a strategy would be difficult to implement.
Even if you were to get all ISP’s on board (a tough task in itself as many are inherently against packet inspection and other such restrictions) it’s not as if there aren’t canny users out there capable of using proxy servers and VPN tunnelling to circumvent restrictions, likewise those canny users are not shy of sharing such information on the internet. As the internet continues to grow day by day, as IPv6 turn billions of IPv4 addresses into more addresses than there are grains sand in the world, as using the internet becomes less learned and more intuitive with the next generation and the generation after that, controlling the internet becomes more difficult. Even in China, where Internet regulation is as stringent as anywhere in the world, users still find ways to negotiate restrictions.
Will any organisation, industry, state or country ever truly prevail over the openness of the internet? Or will the organism that is the internet continue to evolve to always be one that step ahead?