Mumbai: Internet users all over the globe are dejected after the eradication of the world’s most popular torrent-listing website Kickass Torrents.
The website, which had more than a million daily users, was removed by the US government last month and the alleged owner of Kickass torrents Artem Vaulin was arrested for several counts of copyright infringement, and illegal content circulation.
While banning the website is a big blow to online piracy mongers, several users feel that torrent-based websites are not the primary reason for the increasing rate of online piracy.
According to Blaise Crowly, Partner at Gladius & Schild and Reelmonk.com CTO, Kickass torrents was just a website distributing torrent files and “even complied with Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”
He said, “Kickass Torrents never distributed copies of movies and only distributed torrent files.”
Crowley elucidated that the industry is not ready to come to grips with the fact that the fundamental reason for piracy is “content not being available in a cheap and easy access.”
Although there are numerous online audio and video content providers, the global torrent user base overshadows the number of users who utilise prominent paid streaming services such as Netflix, YuppTV, Hulu, and others.
Another interesting fact is the Internet is also home to a gamut of free (illegal) online streaming sites which exist openly without any consequences; Popcorn Time is one such entity.
Years of downloading free stuff on the Internet, made available by various illegal content uploaders, has changed the general perception people have about piracy.
A frequent torrent user Varnica Mehta told Deccan Chronicle that the take down of Kickass will not help in curbing online piracy as other similar sites will emerge sooner or later.
“It's only yesterday that I discovered another website which is way better than Kickass Torrents. Let's not forget the cheap pirated DVD's that save the day,” said Mehta.
“Mindset is something which cannot be altered considering there are people making money out of these websites. It's like a vicious cycle, the more you block them, the more gets created. There's no avoiding it,” she added.
Another Mumbai resident and an active torrent user Warren Dutton shared almost the same opinion on the issue. He also felt that the authorities responsible for blocking torrent websites should try to identify the root cause.
“The removal of Kickass Torrents is just a drop in the ocean and it is literally impossible to take them all down,” said Dutton.
‘Take one down, another will emerge’
Numerous content providing websites including Kicksass Torrents have been blocked several times in the past but they have always managed to resurrect.
Explaining why torrents easily reappear online, tech blogger Salman SH pointed out that each torrent website consists of abundant mirrored servers and backups, which makes it extremely difficult to identify the main server.
It is, in fact, difficult to track down these servers as they are located in regions beyond the reach of IT and cyber-security officials.
According to a TechCurnch report, popular torrent listing website Pirate Bay’s website takes refuge in a secret mountain cave.
He also mentioned the fact that torrent websites such as Kickass Torrents or The Pirate Bay only ‘list’ the torrent files and taking them down does not take down the actual torrent file.
Due to this, countries such as China and UAE have taken strict steps to block the use of Virtual private Networks (VPN).
Online streaming sites steer piracy
Salman also explained that the instant availability of fresh content via online streaming websites have led to increase in piracy; numerous piracy mongers subscribe to these services just to circulate that content illegally.
He said, “The world is moving to streaming, which is increasingly becoming a major part of the internet.”
Though the music industries earn considerable revenue due to services such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Wink, these same services can be utilised to fetch content ‘legally’ and then upload it illegally.
While the possibility of a piracy-free world seems bleak, there are steps that can be taken by content producers to at least curb it.
If fresh content on online streaming sites start appearing a month later, than it would force people to buy physical albums and go to the theatres.
This would drastically help in preventing leakage of fresh content, which is the primary target for piracy mongers....