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The world of peer-to-peer file sharing is murky, at best. Proponents claim BitTorrent sites should remain untouched, as eliminating them would be akin to internet censorship. Of course, copyright holders feel significantly different. While perhaps the most well known file-share site in the world, Pirate Bay, moves to the cloud, internet service providers are preparing to launch deterrents in the form of "mitigation measures."
Back in 2006, The Pirate Bay was raided by Swedish authorities. Allegedly, the raid was encouraged by the Motion Picture Association of America in response to the illegal sharing of films. After mere days, the site was back online and more popular than ever.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, the folks behind Pirate Bay have decided to move nearly the entire affair to the cloud, believing the loss of physical servers will thwart any future raid attempts.
“If the police decide to raid us again there are no servers to take, just a transit router. If they follow the trail to the next country and find the load balancer, there is just a disk-less server there," said a Pirate Bay representative. "In case they find out where the cloud provider is, all they can get are encrypted disk-images."
But just as The Pirate Bay moves its staggering database of user-generated media links to the cloud, internet service providers are hoping to deter illegal downloading with "educational" warnings.
The Hill reports a coalition of ISPs -- including AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner among others -- is almost ready to roll out a new "copyright alert system" over the next several weeks. The concept was originally developed between the ISPs, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the MPAA last summer.
Under the program, ISPs will send an alert to any subscriber who is believed to have accessed sites for illegal sharing of entertainment media. The "alerts" consist of educational material explaining the consequences of illegal downloading. Copyright owners will flag an IP address for providers, if they believe the site contains illegal file sharing.
If those alerts go ignored, the subscriber can possibly expect their ISP to slow down internet access speeds, impose online tutorials, or "other penalties." According to the Center for Copyright Information, the penalties will not include the termination of subscriber accounts.
"In one case, there's a temporary slow down of [Internet] speed, but that doesn't impact access to sites. That's not the way this works at all," said CCI executive director, Jill Lesser.
Despite Lesser's assertions, users of peer-to-peer file sharing networks are obviously afforded some trepidation. TorrentFreak recently uncovered an alleged AT&T internal document which states content owners may "pursue legal action" against a subscriber after the fifth alert.
The Pirate Bay may have protected itself by moving to the cloud, but without safeguarding on the user-end, just keep in mind the Center for Copyright Information may be watching.
Follow this article's author, Matt Clark on Twitter.