Arguably the story to break this week was Google’s formal announcement on Friday regarding websites that allegedly enable copyright infringement. “Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site,” said Amrit Singhal, SVP of Engineering at Google. “Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily ” whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify.”
And so it goes: The war against filesharing and illegal downloading has officially begun. Earlier this week BTJunkie, one of the largest BitTorrent networks on the Internet, announced that it was shutting down for good.
“This is the end of the line my friends,” says the ominous message on their homepage. “The decision has not come easy, but we’ve decided to voluntarily shut down. We’ve been fighting for years for your right to communicate, but it’s time to move on. It’s been an experience of a lifetime, we wish you all the best!”
This, of course, is following the FBI’s recent takedown of filesharing Web site Megaupload.com. Currently, the Web site’s founder Kim Dotcom Schmitz is under arrest, $50 million worth of assets were seized along with cars, guns, and valuable artworks that Schmitz had in his possession. Also supposedly involved with the Web site was Alicia Keys’ husband Swizz Beatz, who was rumored to be Megaupload’s CEO.
Of course, BTJunkie isn’t the only Web site that has begun to take defensive action. FileSonic, FileServe, and Upload.to have all disabled their filesharing capabilities.
All this recent activity has brought to question where the future of music acquisition is headed. Let’s face it; many if not most of us have used some of these Web sites. Some of us even rely on them. But with more and more of them shutting down, and with SOPA and PIPA looming over the horizon, its no wonder that the Internet has taken a turn for the hostile. Piracy and illegal downloads have plagued the entertainment industry longer than we can remember, and now these industries are biting back. So where does that leave your average listener?
Well, the thing about the Internet is that someone will always find a way to bypass the system. We would hope that, in the future, the music industry might even take a hint from one of these Web sites and revolutionize the entire system of acquiring new music. For now, it looks like we’ll just have to go back to feeding our money to The Man…