At the height of the online file-sharing boom, the phrase ‘Sharing is Caring’ was a reminder that peer-to-peer file-sharing systems lived or died on the availability of upload bandwidth. Its presentation allowed it to be about much more than that.
The ‘give to get’ philosophy forms part of the BitTorrent protocol even today, but Sharing is Caring was a phrase that could influence human behavior, to the benefit of the wider file-sharing movement, with no suggestion of pressure.
Sharing is Caring implied that by freely sharing whatever content file-sharers had at their disposal, downloaders would know that otherwise anonymous uploaders actually cared about them. If everyone felt that way, everyone could show that they cared too. It was simply a case of sharing the content other people had shared with them, with others in need of the same content; karma and piracy in perfect harmony.
Counterargument: Sharing Isn’t Caring
While that may have been an unlikely piece of utopia for as long as it lasted, rightsholders viewed sharing rather differently. Well known for his work at the Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau, Antipiratbyrån, Henrik Pontén – who sadly passed away in 2020 – often signed off emails to TorrentFreak with, “Remember, Sharing is Caring.”
In the context of what was said in the body of those emails, the real message was clear: people should care about creators too.
In much the same way that Antipiratbyrån had its name reappropriated by rival group Piratbyrån (The Pirate Bureau), the phrase ‘Sharing is Caring’ would later be repurposed by Danish anti-piracy group RettighedsAlliancen (Rights Alliance).
Share With Care
Around 2012, agreements between rightsholders and YouTube, which allowed the former to more easily remove infringing content from the latter, prompted discussions in Denmark on how similar arrangements with other service providers could help to fight piracy.
Facilitated by Denmark’s Ministry of Culture, a series of meetings attended by Rights Alliance, various rightsholders, ISPs, Google, Microsoft, and payment providers, concluded with the signing of a Code of Conduct.
Signatories committed to making the internet a safer, better place, based on respect for copyright and the promotion of legal products. In September 2014, members of the Telecommunications Industry Association in Denmark (TI) signed a Code of Conduct that ensured pirate site blocking applications, filed by Rights Alliance against a single ISP, would be implemented voluntarily by all ISP members of TI.
To this background and following development work by the Rights Alliance, the Danish Ministry of Culture, the Danish Consumer Council, and ISPs, a new anti-piracy education campaign was born. To find out what Share With Care had to offer, members of the public simply needed to visit a blocked pirate domain and let their ISP handle the rest.
The image above is a translated version of the anti-piracy splash screen that still greets customers of Danish ISP DKTV a decade later.
In general terms, little seems to have changed over the years. It’s still possible to search for movies and TV shows on a platform called FilmFinder which informs visitors where content can be watched or purchased legally. The same applies to eBooks and Denmark-focused new outlets but for less obvious reasons, items of genuine furniture.
A Decade of Share With Care
In a statement this week, Rights Alliance director Maria Fredenslund said that much has changed since the launch of Share With Care a decade ago.
“The 10 years with Share With Care show how far we have come today in the vision of a regulated internet, where we can block illegal content and guide users along the way,” Fredenslund said.
“With the collaboration around blocking and behavioral regulation measures such as FilmFinder, we in Denmark have shown the way to protect content through measures that regulate both content and consumption. With the permanent extension of Share With Care, we look forward to taking the effect of the collaboration to new heights in the coming years.”
A Decade of Blocking Statistics
Rights Alliance also released a small amount of data related to the pirate site blocking measures carried out by the country’s ISPs over the last decade.
“Over the years, the Share With Care collaboration has resulted in 2,217 blocked websites,” Rights Alliance notes.
As far as we can determine, blocked websites seems more likely to mean blocked domains in this instance.
The blue section above represents websites subject to court-ordered blocking measures, around 250 according to the chart. The much larger green section represents mirror sites, proxies and other platforms that appeared after court-ordered blocking of a specific domain, to circumvent blocking measures.
Since these domains are blocked by ISPs voluntarily, we can conclude that the vast majority of domains blocked in Denmark for copyright reasons, are handled on an administrative, company-to-company basis.
Current State of Blocking
No other blocking data was made available this week but TorrentFreak was able to review the latest blocking list issued to ISPs. At the time of writing it contains 892 domains, the majority of which do indeed appear related to circumvention efforts.
For example, the list contains four basic domains for YTS, probably the most visited torrent site in the world right now. The site’s main domain, yts.mx, is obviously a target and the same goes for the other three. Four other domains, including yts.movie and yts.pm, appear to be non-functional, while another 30 refer to sub-domains on unblocking portals such as Unblocklit, Proxybit, and Unblockproject.
Other sites for which circumvention domains also dominate include The Pirate Bay, TorrentDownloads, Torlock, and well, the list goes on. Two unexpected domains on the list include konsumenttestargruppen.com, which according to reports was used for scams, and a very long URL that allows users to access The Pirate Bay’s onion domain, without having to install Tor.
While Rights Alliance is certainly in favor of site blocking, some believe that meddling with DNS is a step too far. Others believe that nobody should have the right to dictate which sites are available, and which ones are not.
Whether intentional, accidental, or simply a quirk of translating Danish to English, isn’t entirely clear. Whatever the reason, local ISP DTKV operates its blocking page on a sub-domain of its main site (dktv.dk) using the Danish word ‘censur’ or ‘censorship’ in English.
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.