While Bill Gates had a much cooler response when asked about piracy back in 1990s—he said that as long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect—and it may have worked for his industry, music and videos have been on the receiving end of the piracy channels. The advent of high-speed internet accentuated the problem with people going online and downloading music, videos and softwares from peer-to-peer websites using torrent files. Though it would leave the machines open to malware and virus attacks, but that did not deter the industry to grow bigger over time.
This can be evident from the fact, that one of the popular torrent websites Kickass Torrents was amongst the top 100 websites visited by users across the world. But now over the past few years, regulators have been coming hard on the piracy channels by continuously blocking ISPs and prosecuting those in the business. On Thursday, piracy was dealt another blow when US department of justice arrested the alleged owner of Kickass torrents and seized its domains.
While the move will certainly impact industry, a huge part of which comes from India—according to web-traffic data analytic website, Alexa, 25% of its users are from India—the war on privacy is far from over. Though music and video streaming websites and services like Netflix and Spotify have had their impact, even faster internet speeds have led to online streaming websites for pirated content to gain traction. While banning and blocking ISPs is certainly an option—people resort to new domains to stream content—the industry will have to come up with cheaper ways of providing content so that people do not opt for pirated channels or wait for the Gates prophecy to come true.