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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The New Piracy Threat From A Trade Policy

Antigua image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 Blog
Antigua: Imagine servers on the beach
Just about the time you thought that the issue of piracy was at least somewhat behind us comes a new threat, thanks to some US foreign policy. It seems that the government of the small Caribbean island of Antigua is angry at the US government for applying trade sanctions in order to prevent it from being used as a base for Internet gambling. This has been exacerbated by the fact that the World Trade Organization has actually ruled in favor for Antigua's right to host the gambling sites, which the US has chosen to ignore.

In an act of revenge, Antigua is now set to host servers that will allow users to download copyrighted music, movies, books and software, in order to make up for some of the lost revenue from gambling. The problem for Antiqua is that any revenue stream from illegal downloads will probably be pennies on the dollar as compared to what they received from gambling, so you can look at the move as using copyright protection (or lack thereof) as a way of trying to force the hand of the US.

You might think that since it's known where the servers are, that it would be easy to block them, but that's apparently not the case. By the use of a virtual private network (or VPN), the traffic to the illegal content is routed through another country or countries, making it extremely difficult to trace.

This might all be a moot point when it comes to music anyway, as the world is quickly moving to streaming audio as the favored way of consuming music. Even without Apple's participation (which may come soon anyway), the masses are quickly learning that it's a lot better to rent than own.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to watch the fight ahead between David (Antigua) and Goliath (the US Government).

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