Sunday, January 22, 2012

"If you want a picture of the future..."

Amidst the chaos of Megaupload, Fileserve and Filesonic getting the axe, you know what's keeping me from losing my mind? My external hard drive(s). I had several GBs of files uploaded on my Megaupload account and even more on Filesonic. They're all inaccessible now. But my TB+ hard drives? Well. You'll have to pry them from my cold, dead fingers. Who knows? Maybe the feds'll do that one of these days - knocking down peoples' doors and seizing discs and drives. (Who am I kidding? They're already doing that in the "war on terror". But the "war on piracy"? To my knowledge that's not going on on a full-scale. Yet...?) But the fact that I've still got something tangible, physical, and in my possession with my hard drives? That's more reassuring. Take the emergence of e-Readers (like the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad, etc.) for instance: I tremble to think of a world without books. New books, musty old books, whatever. I would hate to see everything go digital. There should always be an option of purchasing a digital AND physical copy of a book.

Similarly, I'm also very apprehensive of a marketplace that relies on clouds/cloud lockers for music consumption. Wesley Verhoeve advocates for them, and he's certainly right that they're the way of the future. But how reliable can a cloud service be? Could they face the same fate as Megaupload? If so, what happens to a user's lost music collection? Does the data simply evaporate (just like a cloud)? (Keep in mind that the feds chose to shut down Megaupload for EVERYONE - including the many users who were uploading their own original content, breaching no copyright laws.) That'll never happen to my good ol' hard drives (so long as they aren't stolen or infected by a virus). Maybe the future of file-sharing will be mail-order hard drives or meeting at secret file-swapping locations a la Prohibition-era bootlegging? The dark days are upon us. "If there is hope... it lies in the proles."