“Excuse me, but where were you all when piracy started to decimate the music industry? Why didn't you take a stand against that? Those free records felt good, huh?” - Duff McKagan, former Guns N’ Roses bassist in a January 2012 blog post for Seattle Weekly on proposed PIPA/SOPA anti-piracy legislation. Plans to draft the bill were postponed following widespread opposition claiming threats to free speech and innovation.
At the time SOPA and PIPA were being discussed and protested, the U.S. Justice Department shut down file-hosting/sharing site MegaUpload, just over a year after nailing peer-to-peer file sharing program Limewire. Despite government intervention, internet piracy is alive and thriving as hundreds, if not thousands of similar sites remain active. According to 2011 research from NPD Group, about 9 percent of internet users admit to regularly utilizing the services of peer-to-peer sites (networks of connected computers capable of sharing designated files including the illegal download of copyrighted material), down from 14 percent in 2007.
For this Maine Edge “secrets” column, I interviewed an active illegal downloader who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. Ryan (not his real name) is 27 and works for a delivery company in the Bangor area.
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