The cat and mouse game goes into its next round. After the media companies have fought a quite successful lobby war against basic liberties, the operators of the PirateBay are now testing a service that anonymizes your traces as internet user.
The Business Model
3,000 internet users are right now in beta testing. 180,000 people world wide have registered. This is a solid business model as this service will cost €5 per month. With an conservatively estimated amount of users of 200,000 this is €12 million per year.
The technology is well known as VPN (virtual private network). It means you connect to a specific network (this is called tunneling). From this network you then access the internet. Every website you access is thus being accessed through this network. Inside this VPN you get a new IP address and this is where iPredator becomes interesting for say civil rights activists in coutries that heavily censor internet pages – like iranian, chinese, and soon german activists and journalists aswell. In case you are using Peer2Peer networks to download media files there is a good chance, your IP has already been logged by one of the firms persecuting copyright infringement worldwide.
Through your IP address you can be traced and for example ripped-off sued for copyright infringement – in Germany for example by a company called ProMedia (watch german Spiegel-TV article about ProMedia here). We will not delve into the doubtful business model of dinosaurs among the media companies, but all this comes to an end soon. All those persecuting companies will have to find a new business model as they will not be able to go after people loving music in the future anymore. And chinese, iranian, and german censorship will be able to be circumvented with just a click.
Please pay attention to the legal situation in your country, living in countries with censorship: be extremely cautious. If you are living in the western consumption penetrated countries: consider going to the concerts and buying music. Otherwise your artist will not be able to make music in the future. You’d better listen to more intelligent independent music anyway, instead of those distributed by slowly dieing dinosaur media companies.
In the end remember one thing: using VPN technology to camouflage your traces does not make downloading music from illegal sources legal. Don’t do that.