RIAA, MPAA Rejoice as Suprnova.org Closes, File Sharing Goes Underground

Public file sharing has taken a few on the chin recently focusing on BitTorrent. Regardless of these and future RIAA/MPAA efforts, filesharing will never, ever end. Where's the next pointless strike going to be?

Posted by Michael Bordash on Wed Dec 22, 2004

Music News
So the RIAA and MPAA are celebrating what must seem like a number of glorious victories in their longstanding crusade against public file sharing. Due to a number of raids and repeated threats of severe legal action, many of the most popular file sharing sites decided to shut up shop last week. The most notable of which was the legendary BitTorrent Mecca, Suprnova.org. Sloncek, the owner and creator of suprnova, after seeing what was happening in the community made the brave decision to close the site rather than face a possible prison sentence. But how did the authorities manage to wreak such havoc when they've failed many times before? Simple. They went after the site owners.

Most people are aware of the many court cases the RIAA were involved in last year after they decided to prosecute people who shared files. In many cases they stormed up a media frenzy and a lot of people got very upset at how they were handling it. This time out they are going directly for the site owners themselves. It began at the very start of December when Sharman Networks the owners of the notorious Kazaa peer-to-peer network were taken to federal court in Australia on the grounds that Sharman were facilitating copyright piracy, in the meantime making a steady profit from advertising on the site. This started alarm bells ringing within the filesharing community but it was too late for some major sites as raids were conducted in Holland, Finland and France. The result? EDonkey sites Shareconnector, Releases4U, FinReactor, AntiReactor and legendary French based BitTorrent site Youceff Torrents were all gone; but the worst was still to come.

For the last 18 months, the buzz in the file sharing community has all been about BitTorrent's massive media attention, including one report which suggested 30% of internet bandwidth was being sucked up by BitTorrent use. This has cost the mechanism dearly. With all the attention the RIAA has had in the last year, their stance pales in comparison to the furious wrath of the film industry's MPAA. This is interesting considering that the Film Industry has yet to suffer the massive financial losses that have decimated the Music Industry. There is little doubt that the current crackdown on file sharing is being pushed by the MPAA. So it was on Sunday that the most popular file sharing site in the world Suprnova.org ceased to be, visitors to the site were greeted with this message:

Greetings everybody,

As you have probably noticed, we have often had downtimes. This was because it was so hard to keep this site up! But now we are sorry to inform you all, that SuprNova is closing down for good in the way that we all know it. We do not know if SuprNova is going to return, but it is certainly not going to be hosting any more torrent links. We are very sorry for this, but there was no other way, we have tried everything.

Thank you all that helped us, by donating mirrors or something else, by uploading and seeding files, by helping people out on IRC and on forum, by spreading the word about SuprNova.org. It is a sad day for all of us!

Please visit SuprNova.org every once in a while to get the latest news on what is happening and if there is anything new to report on.

As we wish to maintain the nice community that we created, we are keeping forums and irc servers open.

Thank you all and Goodbye!
sloncek & the rest of the SuprNova Team

There was a sudden outpouring of rage and sorrow amongst the many users of the site, but nothing could be done. By the end of the day, several more sites vanished and the BitTorrent scene had been almost obliterated. FD, moderator of the Suprnova forum, formerly the largest Invision Power Board in existence, removed all content relating to BitTorrent and banned any torrent related discussions. This bold move has spread to many more File Sharing boards preventing them from be taken to court.

So what now for File Sharing?

The MPAA and RIAA are most certainly celebrating; in fact they may well be onto their 500th bottle of Champagne at this point but they will certainly have to sober up fairly quickly. Like common bacteria File-Sharing is easy to kill at the outset but new stronger, more lethal strains will continue to evolve and rise from the ashes. There has been a sudden push into private filesharing networks in the past few days and this is a trend that will continue to grow in the coming weeks. Applications such as Waste allow people to establish their own private filesharing networks and only allow friends and people they trust to access them, these small networks may not have the massive collections of files once available to Kazaa fans nor the large community support that Suprnova once had but they do have a killer advantage. Total privacy.

With the Waste network all files transferred are encrypted so nobody not the MPAA or the Riaa has any idea what people are sharing and without such evidence they have no way of stopping it. Without any fear of litigation file sharing will soon attract a whole new user base of people who were too intimidated by legal repercussions to get involved before. To add to their woes the Music and Film industries must also face the impending onslaught of new de-centralized BitTorrent networks. Where before BitTorrent relied on trackers and sites like Suprnova to work, a new generation of applications being led by the top-secret Exeem project are about to be unleashed.

These programs basically remove the need for a tracker or a central site, in fact the users themselves become trackers in a way. With an interface similar to Kazaa in terms of searching and all the raw sharing power of BitTorrent programs such as Exeem could certainly become the next big thing in the world of filesharing. Even if in a year, the RIAA/MPAA figure a way into these private networks with Microsoft and ISP partnerships, there's always new technology around the corner, like certain private WiFi file-sharing access points. Have you heard about that one? So I guess somebody should tell the MPAA/RIAA to put the bubbly on ice, there is a storm coming and this one they may not be able to weather.

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