Is linking really illegal?

With TV-Links being raided and shut down in a blaze of glory, it leaves us to ponder the question, who is next?
This weekend, TV-Links.co.uk was closed down in a joint operation between multiple European police forces, FACT, Trading Standards and other government agencies, for being an intermediary to copyright theft.

Whilst “Sin”, from Cheltenham, Gloucs, owner and creator of the website, was spending his weekend at Her Majesty’s pleasure, police in the Netherlands were pulling plugs on servers hosting the site and coppers in Ireland were busy arresting forum moderators on the same charge, aiding copyright theft, all the while, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the google billionaires who are hosting the material, were undoubtedly sat around drinking cold brewskies in their multi-million dollar mansions, left to only guess what was going on across the pond.

TV-Links.co.uk was a site where you could get an alphabetised list of television shows and movies with links to free video hosting websites where you could watch said content. The TV-Links website did not actually host any of this content itself, merely linked to it at Youtube, Stage6, et al. However, these links have landed its owners in deep water.

This begs the question, if they can be taken down for showing us where this content is, why are those who are actually hosting the copyrighted material getting away with it, apparently scott free, and, what does this mean for almost the entire internet community who habitually link to videos on Youtube and others? Could my door be broken down at any moment?

I would have to be sat in the ‘Linking is not illegal’ camp that is gradually forming, the petition for the release of ‘Sin’ and the reinstatement of TV-Links is now at almost 1800 signatures in just two days. I do have admit though, there are some other, more sinister questions raised by this, which once again throws the whole ‘Deep Linking‘ debate back into the limelight.

If you just link to something illegal, are you really not breaking the law? What if TV-Links was harbouring links to child pornography? Because they were just linking to it, would that abstain them from any blame or make them completely innocent? Would anybody be fighting their corner then? I can guess this would be a whole different story then.

How this story will play out is left to anyone’s guess at the moment, as this is undoubtedly a unprecedented move FACT and not something that has gone through the British legal system, not of this level of profile anyway. We shall just have to wait and see.

Is honesty the best policy?

Is there anything that hasn’t been said about the decision made by Radiohead to release their latest album download only, and to apply a psuedo-honesty box programme to the payment system?

I will say, however, that I don’t believe that it is an honesty box in it’s true form, as many pundits have been declaring. As in essence there is no set price, it isn’t relied upon that people use their concience to decide whether or not to short change the box, which is the true concept behind the technique.

How the band have benefited from this idea so far is still to be released, but it is the talk of the blogosphere, and beyond, so I cannot believe that they have done too badly.

I have spoken to a few friends who have partaken in this experiment and the amounts given have varied wildy, from £15 right down to the obligatory £0.00. From my findings I have deduced that the amount given will increase with the age of the person and will also fit in with their current downloading habits.
Ie. If they normally download illegally, being allowed to pay what they think the music is worth will not necessarily coax them into actually handing over their card details, but if they are regular downloaders from legal sources, they will dip into their pockets.

To say that this is typical of all who have downloaded In Rainbows would be a gross estimation, but I can imagine not to be far wide of the mark. We’ll have to wait and see if any statistics or trends are published any time soon.

Hiatus

As can be seen, an update has been a long time coming.
A lot of things have been different for me in the past few months and hence I haven’t been able to put my thoughts into words as coherantly as I once could, so I have abstained.

Sterility has been playing on my mind since things started to change and I’m adamant that I don’t want to remain inproductive, at least not for any prolonged period of time.

This hiatus may be over in a shorter time than it has taken for me to announce it, but I do want to keep my options open for the time being, and also leaving this place dormant without so much as an explaination does play on my mind, I don’t want to forever lose a significant slice of the readership that I have established over such a long time.

Stick with me on this.