I have been reading an entry over on Torrent Freak about the shut down of one of the few Tier-1 Usenet servers on the planet. Usenet is a holdover from the very early days of the internet and has been one of the major ways that people communicated and shared information before P2P and long before Bittorrent. Usenet is almost impossible to police, it is impossible to track, and it is impossible to comb through all the logs trying to figure out who is doing what. Even a cloud powered hadoop server would have a hard time dealing with the monumental logs that are generated by the service.
It is also one of the few somewhat safe ways of transmitting data over the internet, and yes, there is a lot of pirated content on the system. It is much more reliable than P2P or Bittorrent without the logging and tracking downsides that P2P and Bittorrent have. With the shutdown of News-Service.com the end of UseNet is really just around the corner because the Tier-1 servers are the top of the system. While other UseNet servers might be Tier-2, it is the top of the pyramid that matters for Usenet, much like Bittorrent indexing sites matter to Bittorrent users. On their site they posted:
On 28 September 2011, the District Court of Amsterdam reached a verdict in the procedure on the merits of the case that Stichting Brein had brought against News-Service.com. The Court has ruled that News- Service.com is to cease ‘recording and offering material protected by copyright and neighbouring rights’ on pain of period penalty payment.
Unfortunately, News-Service.com sees no way of complying with the Court’s verdict. As a consequence, on 28 October, we started interlocutory proceedings and asked the summary Judge to order Brein to cease the execution of the verdict. We have learned today that the summary Judge has denied our claims. This means that we are forced to cease our operations with immediate effect.
However, for reasons of principle, News-Service.com will not accept the verdict and has lodged an appeal.
We would like to thank all relations of News-Service.com for the pleasant working relationship and the trust they have placed in us during the past 15 years.
Patrick Schreurs and Wierd Bonthuis
The reality is that with the loss of a tier-1 server the only thing that will be left once the channels start to dry up is going to be the Rapidshare style sites. Where people store their private files and allows others to download them. Of course that means that pirates and in many cases simple users will post something out of their ITunes catalog to share it, or will share the ripped files from just released DVD’s and music that are then posted to forum sites or are indexed in Google for people to find. The sad part of all this is that all UseNet servers are now in a lot of trouble, because there is a court victory (even if it is in Europe, that will be used as a precedence in the USA, and there is always ACTA to keep things interesting) now, so UseNet as we understand it will limp along like Bittorrent for a while as people move over to Rapid Share.
Which leaves Rapid Share, Mega Upload and others dangerously exposed and in the cross hairs of intellectual property protection people. I am a regular user of Drop Box and other uploading systems so that I can share files between people that I am working with. I also use ICloud to share my music amongst some of my Apple devices, and I am wondering now at what time in the future am I going to lose these services as well.
The good part is that something else will come along, and we will have our golden age of using it until someone gets annoyed enough to try to shut it down. We seem to be in stalemate right now, that for every system that gets shutdown, we have another system that spins up that is different enough to fly under the radar of BRIEN or IFPI or RIAA/MPAA. That is until people start using it to share rips of data that they do not own or have not paid for. We seem to be stuck in this game right now, and as long as it is worth it that is ok, but in the longer run, this seems like an expensive way to go when we should be finding some other way of solving the problem
What that would be, I am sadly without an answer.
- Dutch ruling sends intermediary liability back to the 90s (technollama.co.uk)
- Dutch Usenet Provider Ordered To Remove Infringing Content (yro.slashdot.org)
- Provider: Anti-piracy ruling has ‘killed Usenet’ (go.theregister.com)
(Cross-posted @ Techwag)