In the UK, an alliance of profiteers of intellectual properties, recognizing a seemingly insurmountable mountain of opposition to their ambitions to shut down file-sharing, are pleading that the European Union change legislation to make file-sharing go away. This vague request, along with a decision to move away from pursuing individual file-sharers, may indicate that they have exhausted their efforts to end the sharing of copyrighted content online.
The coalition of creative industries claims that over 50% of the UK’s net traffic is copyrighted content and more than 6,000,000 (and growing) internet users regularly share such content online in the UK. In the face of such a majority opposition, and upon realizing such accusations will no longer hold up in court, they appear to be giving up on targeting individual file-sharers for prosecution.
Suggestions for rights-owners to take many thousands of legal actions seeking damages against individual file-sharers in court are neither practicable nor proportionate and would create a drain on public resources - Alliance Member
While such organizations have pushed hard for a three strikes law, the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has stated that users could challenge a disconnection of service because of file-sharing since it is currently not admissible as evidence in court. They went on the tell rights holders that “…a major part of the solution lies in licensing reform and the availability of legal content online.”
The alliance, which includes the British Phonographic Industry and the Federation Against Copyright Theft, claim that 800,000 jobs will be lost as the market moves away from the businesses that profit by restricting access to information and favors services that help to share information.
Although such alliances have a history of falsifying such figures for the sake of gaining public and government sympathies, these numbers represent the type of major changes that, while challenging, are to be expected when the obsolescence of a major industry becomes apparent. Large intellectual properties organizations world wide are recognizing they will have to adapt if they are to survive the death of the information limiting business. Until they figure out just how they are going to do that, they are desperately asking the European Union to change legislation to be in their favor, although their lack of details as to how this should be done suggests that they are currently held in checkmate by the EU.
The EU recently finalized their decision to reject “three strikes” legislation that forces ISPs to ban users who have been thrice accused of sharing copyrighted contents.
While file-sharing has been bad news for these large organizations and their employees, it has delivered the power of distribution and promotion into the hands of artists, content creators, fans and end users. It should be no surprise then that these are the people who are discovering ways of adapting to the new world of open sharing. Although we can likely expect new ways of profiting off creative works to be discovered as more people recognize the industry for what it is, one thing that will remain just as valuable in this new landscape will be advertising.
Perhaps ironically, file-sharing has been touted as great form of advertising. Between artists who have claimed success thanks to file-sharing and an online-infringement-reporter turned file-sharing-advertiser-for-hire, it appears that the soul of the creative industry will find a way to survive the death of corporate dominion. After all, that’s what being creative is all about.