Internet and Sharing

The Internet can serve as a downloadway of maintaining horizontality in society. What happens when governments start intervening?

A protocol, speaking in computer terms, is a set of common rules computers share to communicate with each other through a network (be it a home network, a university one, or the Internet itself). BitTorrent is one of those protocols, which was created to exchange files over a type of network called “peer-to-peer”, which is one where there are no customers and no fixed servers, but all members are interconnected, and directly exchange information among them.

One could say that this type of network organization allows horizontal distribution of a certain amount and type of files, and streamlines the way we share information, making it possible for everyone to find what they want, without the need to access paid servers, or pages that sell products (music, series, movies, books etcetera).

The Pirate Bay is a search engine of Swedish origin, created by an organization (which no longer exists today) called Piratbyrån, whose aim was to promote an “anti-copyright” movement, and encourage copy of the information and promote “free culture.”

What does it mean to be a “search engine”? Much like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, it files and catalogs millions of existing pages of content on the Internet, and allows easy access to them through predetermined criteria. That is, it is only an intermediary between users and the millions of files uploaded by millions of people around the world. But this is not all. The Pirate Bay only stores Torrent files, meaning “links” to download all kinds of files (audio, video, photos, comics, and so on) from other users that are sharing pieces or packets of the same file. The files themselves are not hosted there, as was the case with sites like Megaupload or Rapidshare.

The interests of business people, mainly from the entertainment industry, and the lobbying power that they exercise over governments is bigger than people freely sharing and finding what they want.