Change of Fortune in Online Piracy War

Since the Justice Department's actions against Megaupload, copyrighters have begun winning major victories over online file-sharing programs. The Pirate Bay remains defiant.

What's the Latest Development?

Since the Justice Department moved against Megaupload, an online file-sharing network, the copyright industry has begun to win significant legal battles against piracy networks. The Pirate Bay, one of the Web's largest host sites for file-sharing, has lost a court case in the UK brought by record companies like Sony and EMI. British ISPs will likely be asked to block the site in the coming months. Grooveshark, a subscription file-sharing service, has lost a court battle in Denmark. At the court's request, it too will likely be blocked by the country's ISPs.

What's the Big Idea?

The Pirate Party, a Swedish political party with seats in the national parliament and whose platform defends the right to violate copyright, remains defiant. Its founder, Rick Falkvinge, says that as technological change accelerates, making older formats incompatible with new ones, sharing digital files is an essential means of preserving our culture. He is also critical of the exploitative contracts written up by media companies, suggesting that the persistence of digital piracy has allowed many artists to benefit from the elimination the middleman.

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