Download Sites: Rogue Pirate Hangouts or Vogue Free Media Distributors?

YouTube is good, but not ideal, and the lack of a download link is somewhat annoying. So I spent some time researching good free media hosting sites for large files and ISOs. Torrent sites are particularly good for hosting the high-definition versions.

These days I get a little paranoid doing this, and indeed, if so-called "anti-piracy" laws are passed (like SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, or others as-yet-unnamed), there really might come a time when I suddenly start running into walls because these sites have been cut off, blocked, and people like me who are looking for them are profiled as "potential copyright offenders" to be prosecuted or otherwise harassed. Because a list of what the MPAA and RIAA's think of as "rogue sites" looks an awful lot like a list of "free distributor sites for free culture media". Many of them have a mixture of legal free content and illegal pirated content. Sometimes it's hard to tell which is which.

Free culture business models rely on the fluidity of information on the net. We take it as an assumption that copies of our works will be able to be freely hosted and freely copied online. This eliminates a lot of overhead for us, because we don't have to pay for the server bandwidth. Instead, torrent and download sites -- typically funded by advertising dollars -- will take that burden on for us.

Bad laws like SOPA, PIPA, and/or ACTA would undermine new free-culture-based business models in the attempt to shore up aging models that rely on an inefficient internet where copying is hard.


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