What is it with the British Police? Suddenly they seem to be channelling the RIAA and Hollywood’s militant tendency. Various news outlets are reporting that the world’s largest BitTorrent site specialising in pre-release music has been shut down today after raids by British and Dutch police. OiNK has 180,000 members and released more than 60 major albums this year, often weeks ahead of their official release date.
The raids were co-ordinated by Interpol, the site has been closed and a 24-year old man from Middlesborough arrested. Well, it makes a change from arresting 26 year old men from Cheltenham, as they did earlier this week to TV-Links.co.uk. They do say a change is as good as a holiday.
Apparently the arrests follow a two-year investigation by UK industry bodies the BPI and International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers (IFPI), the equivalent of the US-based RIAA and MPAA, from whom we have the statement that “OiNK… was not a case of friends sharing music for pleasure. This was a worldwide network that got hold of music they did not hold the rights to and posted it online.”
It’s an ironic move given that all the music in question will no doubt appear online again somewhere else, but it also heralds a new approach from the IFPI, which now seems to be going after ‘the pushers’ instead of ‘the druggies’ (with apologies to any Amsterdam readers).
Why? Because O’Reilly Radar reports that the IFPI is proposing allowing unrestricted downloads of music over peer-to-peer networks in exchange for a monthly fee to be charged to all ISP users. That means the whole DRM debate would effectively be over, and music would perhaps not be free, but near as damn as makes no odds.
So can we stop arresting SysAdmins now please and go after people with the knives and guns instead?