2011 is going to be a sad year if music pirates, academics, and hackers are able to create more things to get people excited about music than a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Fans have The Music Bay to look forward to in April and today they have PirateBox, an offline file-sharing network.
David Darts, a professor from NYU Steinhardt, has created a wireless network that users can connect to and anonymously share digital files with. PirateBox doesn't connect to the Internet. Users simply launch their web browser and start uploading or downloading files. This network can be built for $100, and Darts has even shared the instructions online for anyone to use. All it would take is four ambitious college friends to pool together $25 a piece and overnight their dorm has its own anonymous, offline file-sharing network. Already, curious people are writing in and asking Darts if he'd be willing to build these and put them on sale.
In the FAQ, Dart answers this question. Does the PirateBox promote stealing?
"No. The PirateBox is designed to facilitate sharing which, by definition, is the opposite of stealing.
The misleading connection between stealing and sharing has been promulgated by old media interests and their well funded lobby groups who claim that sharing and remixing copyrighted materials hurts artists.
However, the history of Copyright reveals that Copyright was never really about paying artists for their work but was instead designed by and for publishers.
This business model may have made sense when the costs of production and distribution were very high. With the advent of digital technology and the Internet, however, these costs have plummeted and this business model has increasingly become obsolete.
Today it is not productive to restrict sharing in order to pay for centralized production and distribution.
Prohibiting people from freely sharing and remixing information and culture serves no one's interests but the publishers'."
Coming to a hard-drive near you: Offline file-trading is killing music.