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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cyberlockers & VPNs Will Profit from Copyright Laws

In cooperation with all major American Internet service providers, the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America will begin rolling out their new program aimed at warning and incriminating copyright infringers. However, no cause is without effect; and therefore file-hosting services and VPNs will experience a considerable increase in revenues.

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In a few months, rights owners, in cooperation with broadband providers, will begin tracing down online pirates. There’s nothing new here, as the industry was already doing this, except for the name the process is bearing now: “copyright alerts”. Basically, it is the same “graduated response” system that is meant to notify people that their Internet accounts are used for unauthorized downloading. However, this formalized process has more than 3 strikes: it features 6 steps. According to the new system, after 6 warnings Internet service providers have to apply a number of measures, which include the disconnection from the Internet for a certain period of time.

Most of the today’s file-sharers are aware of this danger and download through a proxy server or VPN, but some don’t bother to take precautions. As a result, the effectiveness of the system isn’t guaranteed.

For instance, the latest survey in France, which has implemented HADOPI a while ago, revealed that just 4% of the file-sharers stopped downloading infringing content. Instead, majority of the Internet users are now using proxy servers and VPNs to stay anonymous.

VPN owners confirmed that their user-base saw a huge increase in numbers in recent years, and they link this increase to news about copyright enforcement efforts. When the country enforces the new “six-strikes” regime, there will be no surprise if VPN and proxy services get their pockets filled by Internet users.

However, these companies won’t be the only ones to profit from the copyright law. Data hosting services will also see an increase in revenues. In fact, some of them have already outgrown the largest torrent websites. The matter is that anti-piracy law usually targets only P2P file-sharing. For instance, everyone knows that such cyberlockers as RapidShare or Hotfile are widely used to share copyrighted content.

Even though “six-strikes” will most probably take its toll, the experts predict that the percentage of users who will completely stop downloading unauthorized content is insignificant.

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