Years and years of piracy appear to be coming to an end, or maybe it’s nothing more than just a temporary phase. Governments, record labels and ISPs are coming together to put an end to this menace that has been around since the days of tapes, but India in general has been sheltered from all the blocking, banning and lawsuits.
The backlash has begun, and that’s clear from the recent ban on The Pirate Bay and Vimeo. ISPs have scrambled to put the ban into effect, most of the time very poorly. Before I begin, I’m not really sure why Vimeo was blocked. It’s smaller than Youtube, often has high-quality, professionally produced content and YouTube as far as I know, has much more illegal and objectionable content than Vimeo does. Most of the people who’ve got Vimeo banned on their connections, might not even know of it. For those like me, who like viewing indie artists videos and tutorials, I’m quite annoyed by this move.
While I see the point of The Pirate Bay getting banned, because of the amount of pirated content, the Vimeo ban seems baseless and irrational. It’s strange that YouTube was ignored despite the obvious amounts of illegal and pirated content that ends up on it, even after the filtering. If you thought YouTube can’t be blamed for its users uploading pirated content, then Vimeo’s case is the same. Blocking YouTube wouldn’t have gone down too well with the public or with Google so it does look like blocking Vimeo was simply a warning shot. So the way it stands today - major illegal file and video hosting sites continue to be accessible as do hatred inciting sites. But a video hosting site with a clean image and hosting good quality legal content, is banned.
The decision making process and implementation that went into the move is what bothers me, more than the fact that some sites got blocked. Blocking one pirate site doesn’t fix the problem of piracy - it’s rampant in so many other ways that it looks like the decision making authorities don’t have the slightest clue of how to curb it. For example, there are so many private networks hosted by ISPs, where terabytes of movies, games and software are shared amongst hundreds of users. Bypassing the bans and blocking systems take no more than a few minutes.
Reactions to the bans
It’s almost as if the ban was suggested by other agencies and we were happy to make a ‘change’, so we decided to implement it as well. And in all probability, before we know it, the bans are going to be removed. As a statement, it’s wrong that the only reason you ban a particular site is because of external pressure. Some users have been already reporting that they're able to access Vimeo and The Pirate Bay again. Piracy is wrong - depending on how you look at it, but then back tracking on your move and saying it’s OK again, sends a really wrong signal to the public. Once again, it’s the Chalta hai attitude that masks a sign of weakness. On the bright side, it’s always fun to see these all-knowing, decision making agencies brought to their knees, by hacker attacks just a few days after the ban on these sites.
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