Sneakernet

01 Dec 2012 | piracy

Timothy B. Lee:

And while BitTorrent and Megaupload get all the attention, Biddle notes that there are other file-sharing techniques that the government is never going to stop. “Teenagers and twenty-somethings I know routinely will go over to a friend’s house with a terabyte drive to swap stuff,” he said. They choose the “sneakernet” approach less out of fear of liability than because it’s so convenient. “You can have a ton of content on a terabyte drive,” he noted.

“I’m now finding that for some kinds of content, the illegal is clearly outperforming legal,” Biddle said. “That blows me away. I pay for premium cable. It’s easier to use BitTorrent to watch Game of Thrones. HBO Go is trying very hard to do a good job,” he said, but the user experience just isn’t as good. Because HBO Go is a streaming service, he said, it’s more vulnerable to network congestion than simply downloading the entire episode from the darknet.

Megan McArdle:

This argument is both ludicrous, and wrong. Ludicrous, because if piracy is actually wrong, it doesn’t get less wrong simply because you can’t have the product exactly when and where you want it at a price you wish to pay. You are not entitled to shoplift Birkin bags on the grounds that they are ludicrously overpriced, and you cannot say you had no alternative but to break into an the local ice cream parlor at 2 am because you are really craving some Rocky Road and the insensitive bastards refused to stay open 24/7 so that you could have your favorite sweet treat whenever you want. You are not forced into piracy because you can’t get a television show at the exact moment when you want to see it; you are choosing piracy.


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