Dear beloved reader, I’ve a sin to confess.
Having grown up in a humble environment, I’ve learnt to be respectful. To toe the line. As a result, I grew up being the heartthrob of the neighbourhood, and aunties go absolutely gaga when they see me, exclaiming “OHMAHGAWD LOOK AT THAT GUY HE’S SO NICE”.
But despite my flawless exterior (behaviour wise anyway), I have a deep, deep secret I never wanted to let anyone know.
Because I know that once I let it out, their impression of me will change. Forever. As such, I make sure to perform my secret ritual at the dead of the night, alone in my room, away from my family, friends and generally prying eyes.
So what’s the secret, you wonder. Or maybe you don’t even give a f about what I’m talking about. Whichever it is, my secret’s that…
I visited Pirate Bay before.
Yeah, it’s a great sin, and I’m fully prepared to experience the 18 gates of hell for it. But because I’m already doomed, I headed back for another entertaining session yesterday night. Except that there was one thing hindering me:
Pirate Bay has been blocked.
And it’s not just Pirate Bay; Solarmovie has also been blocked, as are multiple other (51, to be exact) content streaming sites. Imagine my shock, incredulity, anger. This shouldn’t have happened.
As such, I set about burning the midnight oil to investigate this latest monstrosity.
Granted, I ended up losing my house, but at least I derived 7 facts, 7 solid, cold hard facts that I wish to share with my fellow Caribbean pirates. So without further ado, let’s discover just how this whole thing started.
Note: the introduction is written only to entertain, and the writer has never in his life visited Pirate Bay before. So please don’t call the cops on him because he’s actually a pretty nice boy.
(Editor’s note: No, not really.)
1. What happened?
If you skipped the intro (as I know you probably did), here’s the gist of it:
If you tried visiting content streaming sites such as The Pirate Bay or Solarmovie, you would have realised that access to those portals (and other sites of similar content) have been blocked.
But don’t worry; it’s not just you, and the police definitely didn’t latch on to your little pirate adventures in your boxers in your own bedroom.
2. Why did it happen?
Things happen for a reason. As such, the reason behind this latest revelation is perhaps owed no doubt to the Singapore High Court’s intervention last month.
So last month, the Singapore High Court actually called all local internet service providers (ISPs) — Singtel, Starhub, M1, MyRepublic, and ViewQwest — to obstruct 53 piracy portals discovered to be “flagrantly infringing” on intellectual property. Which is kind of an ass move if you ask me, considering how long those sites have been flaunting their junk in your face and how long the high court took to get that junk out of our faces.
And just last Friday (18 May 2018), all of them acted in accordance with the court order. Dammit. I mean… yayyyy…
So, what’s the reason behind the reason of blocking piracy sites?
According to Straits Times, it’s a bid to protect the creative industry.
“This action by rights owners is necessary to protect the creative industry, enabling creators to create and keep their jobs, protect their works, and ensure the continued provision of high-quality content to audiences,” a Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) spokesman informed The Straits Times.
Now, as an employee languishing in this godforsaken creative industry, I can totally understand the MPAA dude. The creative people need their bread fixes as well. But again, why did it take so long for something like this to happen?
But perhaps this might have been in the works even further back, seeing how there was a huge hoo-ha in December last year, in which ‘rampant’ piracy in Singapore drew actual calls for crackdown from the likes of Walt Disney, HBO and even the English Premier League.
The court order might have been handed down last year, but the application for the order stemmed all the way from earlier this year.
So in the early stage of 2018, MPAA actually applied to block the aforementioned 53 sites under Singapore’s amended Copyright Act. This comes after an apparent finding by the association that the sites are “responsible for a major portion of copyright infringement of films and television shows” here.
Well, that’s a surprise.
Incidentally, the move is considered to be the biggest maneuver undertaken by copyright holders in Singapore, in more than a decade. And suffice it to say that it was a solid victory on their part, seeing how our childhood consisted of two things: Pokemon & Pirate Bay.
But then again…
Is it really a landslide victory as we were led to believe?
5. Internet voodoo
So the thing about the Internet is that there are a lot of codes. And like the law, too many codes mean that there are actually a lot of loopholes out there too, just waiting for you to crack it.
As such, having ISPs block websites isn’t exactly the most proficient method out there, as just a little Internet know-how could get you past their defences, easy peasy.
And that leads to…
6. But it does serve its purpose
Let’s face it; telling ISPs to block sites will not eradicate piracy. To assume as such would be obnoxious, arrogant, underestimating the very word of piracy. After all, like pirates were in the old ages, piracy might seem gruff and rough and easy to subdue on the surface, but it’s really full of tricks and loopholes and generally, bombs to lob at you while you’re not looking.
HOWEVER, it would definitely prevent the masses and average Internet users from such easy website access anymore, because let’s face it; those little tricks and whatnot still require a little bit of Internet knowledge, and someone who surfs the net on a purely casual note would probably not be the best fit for that.
So to that end, I would say that the latest move does serve its purpose, and that is to curb internet piracy. Even if it’s not as extensive as they would have liked.
7. So what now?
We all know that this is but a short-term solution to blocking piracy, seeing how humans adapt, and will probably get over this ‘barrier’ in no time at all.
But that raises the question: how do you eliminate piracy, once and for all?
According to a reddit user, it wasn’t so much of focus on the force (as Singapore’s doing right now), but the draw.
Hmm… sounds plausible.
And as a source so aptly puts it:
“If the content producers and governments were actually serious in curbing digital piracy, they’d have doubled down on making *all* content available to everyone worldwide through legal, fairly-priced means.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, might be what piracy really needs to nip it in the butt. Not the blocking of sites…
But legal, fairly-priced means.
Anyways, you can still watch shows in Netflix, Amazon Prime and if you’re feeling rich, paid on-demand streaming services like Google Play Movies (that’s expensive but worth it).
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