This is yet another article that sat around as a draft for far too long. I'm pushing it out, it seems alright to me.
The problem with big guys picking on little guys is that the little ones play by different rules.
So when an individual's specific action is threatened, that action is given over to the swarm. The threat turns the snake into a hydra.
Corporations have been strengthening their political arm for some time. Now they're establishing foot soldier units to physically enforce the laws they create.
FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) go door-to-door to hand-deliver legal threats. By the way, there's no such thing as "copyright theft".
But when NzbX had a visitor, the outcome was nothing like what was imagined.
Go read that.
When his website was threatened, his response was to improve and release his indexer open source.
The result of cutting the head off the snake that is his website will be a hydra of multiple cooperative users.
Select comments from Lemon ∞
For thoroughness, and because people don't always realize that the subjects articles participate in their own communities, here are some comments I found from Lemon..
Whilst I could fight them, I don't see a point in it - and honestly do feel that my alternative plan is a far better one in the long run :-). -- Lemon
Elaborating on his phrase "highly private Facebook"..
I was being sarcastic. I know my privacy settings mean fuck all. -- Lemon
Sounds like he was going to do it anyway. Not much to do with the threats. -- Justin Me
Yep, was all about the timing. -- Lemon
Regarding finding his home address..
This is where I am stumped. I recently moved, I am not on the electoral roll yet -- and the WHOIS information didn't even have my name... -- Lemon
It could have been traditional private investigation.
You should push this and see where it goes, health permitting. -- The_Strawbear
I have already made an enquiry in regards to this :-). -- Lemon
Other hydra examples ∞
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) went after Napster, giving it a huge amount of publicity. When Napster went down, enough interest remained that the protocol was reverse-engineered and OpenNap was born.
Continued attempts to poison or otherwise attack OpenNap have met with dubious success.
When the RIAA went after Limewire, having blocking functionality put in, the community responded with FrostWire.
I'm a bit fuzzy on the history of this one, but the RIAA had their hand in taking down Overnet and eDonkey network.
Overnet is decentralized so it's still operating. I wonder if it was created as a hydra response.
eMule and others rose to replace the eDonkey client.
Kademlia and other protocols rose to replace eDonkey2000, although it's still in use.
eDonkey2000 is being attacked by automated poisoning attempts to search results. The results are limited. It's straightforward to tease out poisoned results and ban its participants. I wonder if this has been automated.
There has been a history of legal issues with BitTorrent, but its use is still strong.
Torrent poisoning exists, and again there is limited success.
Now sites which index magnet links are being attacked.
Companies are being hired to track down torrent participants and have their ISPs send them threatening emails.
Of ants and sand castles ∞
A small group of worker ants build a sand castle. It is impressive enough that other ants come to visit it.
A peasant, walking on the beach, sees a little sand castle and wonders at it for a moment.
After telling some friends, a merchant learns of it and tells his architect friend.
The architect, outraged, complains to the king..
King, oh king! Castles are the domain of man, not ants, and their creation is an insult to my genius!
The king frowns with concern, but the queen does not understand the fuss..
It's only a sand castle, and they are only ants. Let them be.
The queen smiles at the king, and his face softens. He silently nods his agreement.
Flustered, but not daring to challenge the king, the architect retires.
Time passes, and more ants have joined the original worker ants. Their sand castle has become quite a spectacle. Even the peasants are starting to gawk as they walk past it.
On some other business, the architect walks past the crowd. Realizing this is the sand castle, he stops and turns back to investigate.
He sees the improved castle. The architect is furious. He worries that the people will lose their wonder at his own creations. He worries.. and suddenly his eyes widen at all the possibilities.
The architect pushes into the crowd to step on the castle himself, king be damned. But the peasants pull him back and bar his way. Some of them say they'll keep a vigil to prevent any future attempts.
Attacks against file sharing are like a giant stepping on a sand castle. It may shatter into sand, but the idea still exists in memory and it can be rebuilt. Each grain of sand exists and can be carried off
So here's what we see. An attack smashes a tower, but the blocks from that tower are picked up and carried off
The hydra effect ∞
(My inspiration for the name goes to torrentfreak.)
The beginnings of the idea seems much older than that. Just a cursory search for The Hydra effect Streisand gives some articles. "Credit to the OP, as they say".
- 2007-11-05 - http://www.forbes.com/2007/05/10/streisand-digg-web-tech-cx_ag_0511streisand.html
- 2009-05-19 - http://johndozierjr.typepad.com/dozierinternetlaw/2009/05/dozier-internet-law-myspace-suicide-case-dismissal.html
The Internet treats censorship as though it were a malfunction and routes around it. -- John Gilmore, at the second Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference, 1992. (I was unable to find a direct reference)