by Luke Howell
The Pirate Bay is up. No wait, down. Try this one instead. Kickass Torrents had its domain seized. Oh wait itâ€™s over here now. Demonoid isnâ€™t as good as it used to be after it came back. People are being prosecuted and the government is really coming for us. Is 2015 the year that widespread piracy finally dies?
Indeed, itâ€™s getting harder and harder in 2015 to download content free and easily over BitTorrent. The Pirate Bay was raided and taken down for over a month. Kickass Torrents had its domain seized and thereâ€™s an anti-piracy scheme underway inside the bowels of the Government.
Sure, you say, despite these hiccups there are still ways to get your pirate fix. There are open-source copies of The Pirate Bay popping up all over the web, a re-positioned version of Kickass Torrents living at a new address and the slow but certain return of Demonoid, but thereâ€™s no doubt that the latest salvo from Johnny Law has put a dent in the digital skull and crossbones.
But consider that these resurrected sites are attracting whispers and rumours. Onlookers are warning that theyâ€™re honeypots for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
Even without Australian anti-piracy laws in place (which are definitely on the way), studios and producers are still doing what they can with existing legislation to bring pirates to justice.
The studio behind Dallas Buyers Club is currently fighting a legal battle with iiNet (the only ISP that stood up against the studio) to produce email and home addresses of people who pirated the Oscar-winning film.
The case is surely being watched closely by other studios keen to prosecute pirates for lost revenue in the hundreds of millions, and with the backing of our Government looking to crack down on copyright infringement, itâ€™s only going to get harder to torrent a film and get away with it.
Of course, piracy is not a victimless crime. It may be a way for you to stand up to the Man charging you through the nose for tickets and popcorn before charging you again for a Pay TV service that takes too long to bring content to Australia, but itâ€™s genuinely hurting some smaller filmmakers in our own backyard.
The cast, crew and producers of the awesome Aussie zombie film Wyrmwood made their masterpiece on a deferred payment basis. That means theyâ€™ve foregone being paid for their hard work until after the movie turns a profit, and now that itâ€™s being widely pirated the proverbial pie is shrinking. Actually, scratch that: the real pie is shrinking too.
â€œJust need fans to pay to see it so we can eat,â€ one of the actors tweeted last week. For them, the struggle against piracy is real.
Another Aussie artist is also struggling to make ends meet thanks to piracy. Buried in the submissions to Government over the proposed anti-piracy scheme, a musician revealed that his work had been uploaded to YouTube by a third-party and played millions of times.
Thanks to that back-door streaming option, it had only been purchased a few hundred times on iTunes, meaning that he saw very little real revenue from it, despite the songâ€™s popularity.
His submission was heartbreaking, too. It simply read: tell me how I stop this so I can get some money.
Will piracy survive beyond 2015? Good question. An even better question is: should piracy survive beyond 2015? The answer is simple: absolutely not.