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The War On File Sharing is the New War On Drugs

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File sharing

“It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.” — Aaron Swartz

Federal authorities recently arrested the owner of the website Kickass Torrents, Artem Vaulin. KAT, as it was commonly known, had, following the end of the Pirate Bay and subsequent jailing of its owners in Sweden, become one of the world’s most visited websites and certainly the go-to place for torrents. As the reader is probably aware, there’s no good way to limit the content of a torrent – the torrent protocol is a dumb pipe, similar to other transfer protocols, and simply transfers data. In its case, it uses the power of peer-to-peer networking. Thus the primary use of KAT was “pirated” content, or bootleg copies of music, movies, games, and other forms of intellectual property.

The war on filesharing has gone on for virtually the entirety of the web’s history. In the early days of the Internet, it was commonplace to share code and other things. The spirit of the new generation was, indeed, sharing. As bandwidth increased throughout the 1990s, people moved from using BBS systems and the Kermit protocol to using more advanced ways of sharing, including plainly out on the web. The mid-to-late 1990s is when the FBI began taking it more seriously, at the behest of various industries, including the software industry. This 1997 article from the San Francisco Examiner outlines an important part of the situation:

Accompanied by corporate representatives to identify the software, FBI agents took the computer systems off-line and confiscated the equipment and other documents.

Did the reader catch that? Corporate representatives accompanied the FBI on raids. In all of this anti-piracy business, the FBI has essentially acted as the attack dog of private industry. In the same way that commercial drug manufacturers are a massive lobby in keeping marijuana, the most commonly prosecuted substance in the ongoing “War on Drugs,” intellectual property-based industries have a vested interest in ensuring that there are steep penalties for sharing files. However, it’s not only the actual owners of the content who would like copies of 20-year-old movies to remain at premium prices, but other vendors, including the likes of Netflix and Hulu, as well.

The War on Drugs has been going on since the Nixon administration, and during its 40 years, the rate of drugs entering the country and the rate of drug use have done everything but decline. Some states have begun to rebel, moving toward treatment policies and in the case of marijuana, even legalization. The War on Drugs has nothing to do with morality or public health and everything to do with money. Police agencies nationwide make millions from asset seizure related to drug raids. The end of the drug war would equate to a severe budget gap for some agencies. In a similar way, without the FBI to do their bidding, intellectual property owners would have to find more inventive ways to attract money.

But that’s not really the problem, either. The real problem with both the War on Drugs and the War on Digital Piracy is that they are not winnable wars. You cannot dictate human behavior from on high, and as long as there are networked computers, there will be ways of sharing files. The torrent protocol is only the latest to become popular. This generation also saw Napster, which had a fundamental flaw of being centralized. These efforts by the government are massive wastes of money in the end, at least in accomplishing their goal. This article is not meant to suggest alternative approaches, but rather to underline the parallels of the two movements.

As soon as Kickass Torrents was taken offline, people worldwide began working on clone sites. And, more to the point, KAT was not the only torrent site left standing. IsoHunt is a long-standing provider of torrent files, and Usenet remains another option for those who do not want to buy all their content from the myriad of subscription and a la carte media providers. Information wants to be free, as Stewart Brand said, and by this he did not mean freedom, but free of charge. This argument is based on the idea that the cost of delivering information (or content) has severely dropped over the years, and so too should the cost.

Information wants to be expensive, at the same time, because it is valuable. Brand pointed out that this tension will never go away. In one browser tab a user can acquire a recently released movie for free, and in another tab he can choose to pay for it on Amazon.

The War on Digital Piracy is a war of attrition. Any perceived “gains” are immediately squashed by the proliferation of alternatives. As long as there is a demand for alternative sources of content, people will provide it. Were every torrent site to be taken off the clear net, the dark web could quickly provide alternatives. After all, these sites do not actually serve any content, just links to torrent files and magnet links. The torrent protocol itself does not actually require sites to list the files, and people could continue to distribute them in other ways. No matter what the government does. No matter what the industries do.

Prosecuting people for linking to content is a dangerous constitutional precedent. It’s like saying that giving directions to a criminal is a crime. The prosecution of Artem Vaulin, Fredrik Neij, and Peter Sunde (of the Pirate Bay) is criminal. If anything, the people actually distributing pirated content should be the target of the government. But this also raises the question: should the government be expending precious resources to go to war for industries that make millions and billions of dollars per year, or shouldn’t it be dedicated those resources to more important pursuits, such as anti-terrorism investigations?

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




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  1. NorBdelta

    August 2, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Definitely akin to the war on drugs, the lengths some corporations are going is absurd.

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Stellar Price Analysis: XLM/USD Bulls Run into Resistance and Profit Taking Following IBM Boost

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  • Stellar’s XLM price was seen cooling in the session on Thursday, as the bulls ran into a barrier of resistance.
  • IBM detailed it has several letters of intent from banks to leverage IBM-Stellar technology.

Stellar’s XLM price has managed to pick itself up from the recent low area, where it was moving within the total abyss. The decent falling for XLM/USD was pushing it into totally unknown territory, where the price has not traded before. A low was produced down at $0.07330000 before the bulls kick-started the recovery. It has now gained a chunky 30% over the last two weeks, with upside momentum particularly gathering decent pace in the past four sessions.

The most recent jump north came following the price escaping a nine-session range-block formation. The low of the mentioned range was observed down at $0.07590000, with the high up at $0.08330000; the bulls forced a breach of this level on 18th February. Upon the move above, a fresh wave of buying pressure came into play, with XLM/USD moving to its highest level in almost four weeks. At the time of writing a pullback can be observed, which could be potential profit-taking after the decent run.

Several Banks to Join IBM’s Stellar-based Service

According to a representative from IBM, several confirmations have been received from banks on their intent to incorporate digital assets, including their own stablecoins via IBM World Wire and Stellar. The head of Blockchain at IBM Jesse Lund said:

“We’ve got a launch announcement coming out soon. We’re going to be supporting more than 50 countries out of the gate, 30-40 currencies, and enough market makers to drag along 30 or 40 banks. So we’ll have a significant portion of the world covered. Our goal is to continue to expand that network and to provide global coverage within 3-5 years where you can actually send remittances in a consistent way, immediately, at a very low cost, from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world.”

Several banks have confirmed their plans to release digital assets, including their own stablecoins, based on IBM World Wire and Stellar. According to the IBM representative, the company has already received several letters of intent from a number of banks around the world.

Technical Review – XLM/USD

XLM/USD daily chart.

Given the recent price cooling, eyes will be on a possible return down to the breached range-block area. A move as described would complete the technical breakout and retest of the mentioned zone. Should this fail to provide necessary comfort to the falling price, then eyes will be on another test of the low, $0.07330000. If a further breach is observed here, then this opens the door once again to a move within an unknown territory, moving within the abyss.

Looking to the upside, if XLM/USD completes the break retest scenario and the bulls capitalize on this, then a decent push back north may be seen. A near-term supply area tracks above from around $0.09350000 up to $0.0980000. Should the bulls force a break above the mentioned supply, then a retest of the 2019 high area would be eyed. In other words, a move back within the range of $0.13-0.1400000.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

 Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 125 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Bitcoin Cash Price Analysis: Bullish Pennant Pattern Confirmed

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  • Bitcoin Cash price remains very much elevated, as the bulls continue to run north.
  • BCH/USD price action has formed a bullish pennant pattern formation, subject to a breakout higher.

BCH/USD: Recent Price Behavior

The Bitcoin Cash price has been a notable out-performer over the past few sessions, with the BCH/USD pair rallying as much as 23% since 17th February. In doing so, it reached its highest levels in over six weeks. The aggressive move north came after a prolonged period of range-bound trading via the daily chart view.

Between 8th – 17th February, BCH/USD was moving within an extremely narrowing range-block formation. This represented a lack of commitment from both camps after being confined within a range low of $117 to a high around $125. On 18th February, the bulls managed to force a breach and daily closure above the confines of the mentioned range.

Coinbase Adds Bitcoin Cash Support to Wallet App

Coinbase, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service provider, announced it has added support of BCH to its Coinbase Wallet.

“The new Wallet update with Bitcoin Cash support will roll out to all users on iOS and Android over the next few weeks,” the company said in an official blog post.

The app will facilitate support for both CashAddr and legacy addresses. Private keys will be encrypted on the mobile device by the Coinbase mobile wallet. Last week Coinbase announced the following: “users can now back up an encrypted version of your Coinbase Wallet’s private keys to your personal cloud storage accounts, using either Google Drive or iCloud This new feature provides a safeguard for users, helping them avoid losing their funds if they lose their device or misplace their private keys.”

Technical Review – BCH/USD

BCH/USD 4-hour chart.

At the time of writing, the BCH/USD price is still holding at elevated levels, with gains in the session amounting to 2.5%. Over the last two sessions, between 19-20th February, the price action has somewhat moved within a range. The detailed price behavior has seen a bullish pennant pattern formation, which is subject to a further potential move north.

Near-term resistance is eyed at $145.50, where the upper acting trend line of the pennant is tracking. Should the bulls manage to break this down, then expect a fresh wave of selling pressure to kick in. To the upside, eyes will then be on supply observed up within the $160-$165 price range.

In terms of near-term support, the lower acting trend line of the pennant which is tracking at $140 is the next major target; a breach could then expose critical daily support at $137. Lastly, if neither safety nets protect the price from falling, then there runs the risk of a full reversal of the recent gains.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 125 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Tron Price Analysis: TRX/USD Bulls Dealt a Blow as Bearish Daily Candlestick Eyed

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  • Tron (TRX) was forced to give up the recent run higher after closure in the red on Tuesday.
  • TRX/USD saw a bearish candlestick formation on the daily chart yesterday, somewhat of a shooting or evening star.

The Tron price after a decent push north over the past few sessions saw a minor slowdown on 19th February. TRX/USD gained around 12% from 15th-19th February, as the price managed to find its feet following a break of key support. An ascending trend line was initially running from the back-end of December 2018 up until a breach on 11th February.

At the daily close on 19th February, the candlestick formed somewhat of a bearish shooting or evening star. Should this play by the textbook, then it signals some further potential downside pressure to come. A confirmation of the price moving back south and possibly reversing the recent run of gains would need to see another bearish closure on the daily.

BitGo to Support Tron

Tron announced that BitGo is adding TRX to the list of cryptocurrencies that it supports later this year. BitGo is a digital asset financial services organization offering wallet and custody support. The company already accommodates the likes of bitcoin and Ethereum, plus over 100 other cryptocurrencies.

The CEO and founder of Tron Justin Sun commented following the announced:

“As TRON and its subsidiary BitTorrent work toward our vision of creating a new internet economy that is fast, secure, and cost-effective, we need to work with the companies that can provide that secure foundation. With BitGo, TRX investors will have the most secure wallet and custody options.”

Elsewhere the chief technology officer at BitGo spoke on the latest update to support Tron:

“As TRON and its subsidiary BitTorrent work toward our vision of creating a new internet economy that is fast, secure, and cost-effective, we need to work with the companies that can provide that secure foundation. With BitGo, TRX investors will have the most secure wallet and custody options.”

Technical Review – TRX/USD

As detailed above, the daily candlestick observed yesterday was a bearish closure, ending the run of gains seen of late. If there is to be additional selling pressure, the bears would need to force another close in the red. Should the momentum to the downside pick up the pace, then eyes will be on the next area of support. Daily comfort is provided at $0.023550 $0.021500, $0.018700 and then $0.01750-$0.01600.

In terms of upside targets, the bulls would be looking to break back above the breached ascending trend line. The resistance is currently tracking around $0.027500, and a push north of this could put TRX/USD in an excellent running to retest $0.030000 territory. A large amount of supply is noted through much of this area. If this is successfully broken down, then a fast move could take place up to $0.040000 region.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.            

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 125 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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