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Web sites shut down

by Archives October 30, 2007

It’s been a tough week for file-sharing on the Internet.
In the span of a few days two of the best entertainment portals on the web were shut down. Last Tuesday the UK-based OiNK – a file-sharing site with probably the most comprehensive music catalogue around – was shut down by British and Dutch police.
A few days earlier you could almost hear the collective groan when www.tv-links.co.uk, one of the most popular websites for links to TV shows and movies, suddenly failed to load. Yep, that’s right, no more Weeds, The Office and The Wire at the tap of your mouse pad. The 26-year-old British man who allegedly ran the site was arrested for “offences relating to the facilitation of copyright infringement on the internet,” said British police.
The strange thing about the decision to target ‘TV links’ is that, as its name suggests, the site did not host illegal material — it provided links to other sites that did. And so, all the shows are still out there, hidden away on obscure Japanese video sites, waiting to be watched – if you don’t mind the blurry screen, subtitles, and buffering. There’s always DVDs anyway.
But back to OiNK. The file-sharing site leaked 60 major pre-release albums this year alone, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). By my own rough count, it leaked at least a hundred more.
“Within a few hours of a popular pre-release track being posted on the OiNK site, hundreds of copies can be found further down the illegal online supply chain,” said a spokesperson from IFPI.
But pirate music lovers need not distress. The IFPI worked on the OiNK case for two years before launching a series of raids last week. Already members of the file-sharing site are organizing online and talking about setting up shop elsewhere on the net. It may not be long before the entire library is back online.
Meanwhile, file-sharers can rejoice that Radiohead set the new music industry standard with its “pay what you wish” album released earlier this month. Back in July, the Canadian indie pop band, Stars, released an album online a full two months before it was expected in stores. And ABC now posts most of its major shows for free online viewing – if you live in the United States. Other artists and networks are sure to follow suit.

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