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Can illegal downloads ever be stopped?

Its a burning question many authorities have tried to answer for years now and there appears to be no solution for the billions lost on movie, game and application sales.

KitGuru has reported many times in the past on bitorrent and newsgroups sites, including the temporary close of Pirates Bay and the reopening of Newzbin, under the guise of Newzbin 2.

In May of this year, the US Copyright Group initiated a ‘pay or else‘ suit – hitting over 5,000 people who illegally downloaded award winning film, The Hurt Locker.

Although this has been made rather public it has not deterred the bitorrent masses who are still illegally acquiring the film, recording over 200,000 downloads in June 2010 alone. This accounts for millions in lost revenue for the producers. Interestingly, almost a quarter of those downloads came from the USA alone. Conspiracy theories abound that the movie producers are actually letting people download the movie with the intention to file suits later to reclaim the money. This is why many people are saying the movie is still easily available online to download.

While this might seem to affect torrent download sites, there are actually more and more appearing online and while the Pirates Bay was shut down for a while it reopened quickly enough, even under the threat of further legal action.

On the other side of the coin, newsgroups favourite Newzbin was shut down earlier this year after the administration team lost a long court battle, they still apparently owe hundreds of thousands to companies and software producers. A short while later the code to power the back end of this site was apparently stolen and a new site reopened, under the same URL but called Newzbin 2. Many theories exist that the original creators gave the code away deliberately to spite the authorities. The sites new administration team have invested $40,000 USD in the website and have been public in saying they intend to make money from it.

Why don’t we see more ‘quick fire’ legal action being taken by movie producers in the wake of the Hurt Locker suit? The issue is that with settlement schemes such as this, the legal team handling the cases quite often demand around 60-70% of the settlement and therefore it proves costly to go after illegal downloaders and those offering people the option to do so.

Is there a solution at hand? We think not, it has been proven that once a site is shut, another just opens weeks, or sometimes just days later with the same content. Moving hosts, location and even country are the easiest ways to get a site back quickly.

KitGuru says: What are your views on this? discuss in our forums.

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