Pirating content isn’t just “illegal” anymore, it’s being pursued
Last week I posted on Facebook:
The day has finally come! ISP’s are cracking down on piracy violations. You get 1 written warning in the mail, then the next offense they will terminate your service. Sucks for those of you who live in places 1 ISP has the monopoly!
For those of you who are going to continue to pirate music, movies, TV, etc here’s a list of things you can do:
-2 if you’re too stupid to do that, don’t seed the torrent, delete the torrent data as soon as you’ve pulled your file
-3 use a VPN, however, depending on your VPN’s network and ToS they can boot you as well, lol.
Moral of the story; pay for a music service, rent digital or Redbox, don’t screw artists over because you’re a dick.
As could be expected, most of my friends and followers took it jokingly. What really baffles me though is that people would rather pay for a VPN and pirate content, than pay for the content itself. As a privacy advocate myself I fully support the use of VPN’s, however, the premise of using one (that you’re paying monthly for usually) to steal from someone else is just stupid.
There are frequently memes circulated referring back to the ‘good ole days’ of Limewire and more recently to torrenting sites/clients like BitTorrent and The Pirate Bay. At face value, they can be funny referring to the difficulties of growing up during the early 2000’s compared to today, but in reality they’re simply making light of the fact that they miss the ease of stealing from artists they claim to support. I don’t want to sound like a prude or even pretend I didn’t do those kinds of things back then, but I don’t see the point anymore and haven’t in a long time.
Being legal is cheaper in the long run
I have been a subscriber to Google Music for a long time, literally since the days of invite only Beta in 2011. I don’t even remember the last time I pirated a piece of content to be honest.
Recently Google launched YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red), with the intentions of making YouTube the sole media platform for all of it’s content. Google Play Music is set to be killed off in favor of YouTube Music sometime between 2019 and 2020, so Google made the decision early on to package YouTube Premium in with Google Music subscriptions, and vice versa. Pay for Google Play Music, you get YouTube Premium included, however, now for new customers there will be 2 pricing options, 1 for YouTube Premium at $11.99/month and YouTube Music Premium at $9.99/month. The big difference here is that the music only subscription does not give you any of the traditional YouTube features ad free. If you’re someone like me who was an early adopter, you only pay $7.99 for the service and are grandfathered for life!
The point of all of this is that most VPN’s charge you some sort of nominal fee ranging from $6.95/month* to $12.99/month*, and most people I spoke with regarding the topic only use their VPN to Pirate media. So, rather than paying a VPN service to pirate for you, pay the content creators.
AT&T begins fighting content pirating
Last week multiple news sites reported that AT&T would be terminating the services of something like a dozen users over content piracy. This is a huge deal as most people have never really had any true fear they would be pursued for pirating anything. Most ISP’s without a court order will not identify the end user responsible for the content being pirated, however, if they receive enough complaints that can and apparently will terminate users services entirely.
Now that AT&T owns HBO, Time Warner, etc they have a much bigger vested interest in protecting their properties, this also means they likely will develop ways to better identify those pirating. The general practice right now is creators use services that attempt to download or leech torrents from hosts and seeds. They are able to generally identify the IP address of the contents origination, and use this information to report to ISP’s. Previously AT&T had a 6 strike system, meaning they would warn you 6 times and attempt to educate you, after that they reserved the right to terminate your service. Now, however, they seem to have moved to a 1 strike system in which if they receive a complaint, they will inform you, if you pirate content again they will terminate your service. This can be a massive blow to someone who lives in an area where there might only be a single ISP available.
Using a VPN only gets you so far
Most common users believe a VPN literally makes them invisible. This is untrue, looking over a few of the top VPN services Terms of Service, they reserve the right to track you and terminate your service for abuse of their VPN service. You should also expect that they will not take responsibility for DMCA, RIAA or MPAA violations, be sure to read the ToS before you sign up for a service to understand what they will and will not do for you or for a content owner.
*Prices from various top VPN services (Lemacks Media is not a partner, will not earn anything from you clicking, and does not endorse any specific VPN Service): ExpressVPN NordVPN CyberGhost IPVanish TunnelBear PrivateInternetAccess