Social Networking To Kill Copyright? | BitTorrent Researcher Thinks So By 2010

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The Web as a mainstream tool accessible to everyone has changed things for copyright owners. Whether they choose to embrace the Internet or not could determine their survival through the current revolution. But it could well be too late, and social networking could be to blame.

The Writing’s On The Wall

Only the most ignorant among us can’t see that something big needs to happen in terms of copyright and ownership rights. Whether it be music, movies, or video games, the Internet has opened up a new market which needs to have its potential tapped rather than impeded at every turn.

The record companies and movie studios have had since the emergence and eventual shutdown of Napster to realize the writing is on the wall. But rather than accept the inevitability of the need for change, and embracing the Web as a means of distribution, they’re hanging on to their dying business model by their fingertips.

Urgent Need To Act

Even now, when companies ate slowly deciding they want in, there are too many restrictions being put in place, be it territorially, concerned with money, or control. This lack of willingness to start again to meet the needs of a new generation could cost media companies dearly.

And we’re not talking long-term either. An article about peer-to-peer and BitTorrent sharing by Johan Pouwelse expounds a theory which could mean media companies are in serious trouble. Now.

Pirates and Samaritans

According to NewTeeVee, the Netherlands-based Pouwelse is in charge of developing the social BitTorrent client Tribler. That’s on top of being a P2P researcher. In the 21-page article titled ‘Pirates and Samaritans: a Decade of Measurements on Peer Production and their Implications for Net Neutrality and Copyright’, he claims the idea of copyright could be dead in the space of two years.

The theory comes from looking at the social aspects of the Web and how they’ve grown substantially in recent times. Sites such as Facebook and YouTube allow people to have build long and fruitful friends lists. These then generate masses of examples of “peer production” or user-based collaboration.

Social Darknets

Video-sharing sites such as YouTube are built around a social fabric which allows users to share content with networks of friends. Combine this trend with the emergence of “darknets” (file-sharing networks with no danger of identities being revealed to the outside) and you have a potent combination which could lead to the death of copyright as we know it.

The social aspects of file-sharing haven’t really been explored in any big way but this article shows that Hollywood and other media outlets may have missed a big danger to their wellbeing. A solution clearly needs to be found before media companies find themselves without a business to save.