I’m sure this title is bound to raise some eyebrows.

Torrents, love them or hate them, you will undoubtedly have used or know someone who uses torrents on regular basis.
It’s a rather simple but clever technology that allows the sharing of media, and information.
The problem is the lack of common sense and understanding surrounding torrents.

Most people that aren’t actively involved in the world of technology will hear the word torrent, and automatically think of the illegal pirating of software, music, movies and more.
The truth is however, that torrents aren’t biased, or black and white for that matter.

A quick look at any torrent site will show you the availability of hundreds and thousands of blockbuster movies and the latest hits to hit the charts. However, go to any Linux distribution website and you can legally download the newest OS by torrent.
Torrents have the potential, if used correctly, to make a marketing campaign a huge success.
A great example of this was the case of Iron Maiden late last year.

There was a huge increase in pirated music from Iron Maiden. Instead of trying to take people to court, they did something remarkable and that paid off.
Research was done to find out where the highest amount of pirated Iron Maiden music was being done, and then they organised a concert there knowing there was a huge fanbase right there.
This is just one of the ways torrents can be used to play in your favour.

However, in a nation often considered to be the perfect example of freedom and openness, they take a more drastic approach.

I am talking about the Netherlands, land of prostitution in the Red Light, legalized Cannabis (it’s not actually legal there, but that’s for a different time), partying for any occasion and tulips.
There exists a particular organization that fights for the rights of artists (supposedly), and they are at the forefront of the fight on torrents.
Early last year, the Dutch woke up to the somber realization that The Pirate Bay was no longer accessible.
All they seen was a message from their ISP’s stating they have been ordered by the Dutch Supreme Court to block TPB. The tone of the message clearly suggesting that even the ISP’s were extremely annoyed by this ruling.
It was a victory for Brein (the organization in question).

However, a study on Brein had showed that a remarkable amount software, music, movies etc at Brein was in fact…you guessed it…pirated.

However, Brein was not happy.
For Brein, ALL torrents were evil, and therefore must be stopped.
In a jaw-dropping recordbreaking courtcase, Brein attempted to censor the internet on a scale never seen before in the Netherlands, by asking for a ruling to block ALL torrent sites and activity.
And even more jaw dropping was the ruling.
Brein won, and the court ruled that all torrent sites are to be blocked.

Which leads me to a single question.
When the 3D printer became commercially available, the opportunities it provided were immense. Medical possibilities are amazing along with the way we manufacture products. However, in the United States, someone created the first successful 3D printed firearm.
Does that mean that 3D printers should be banned? It is essentially the same argument as the Torrent. Both have the ability to make incredible things, but can also be used with bad intent.
Instead of banning it, let’s look at what causes it? Could it not be the fact that 50 euro is extremely overpriced for a game, or perhaps that cinema tickets are far too expensive? Perhaps that Game of Thrones is only available on HBO might have something to do with the whole issue.

So what is the solution?

I cannot provide an answer to this complex dilemma, one thing I do know is that everybody has the right to free information and that under no circumstance should our internet be censored. After all, where does the censoring stop. And it is for that reason that I aim to provide the opportunity to download torrents within the Netherlands when the law is passed.

The internet is our internet, born from a free idea, given to the free people, for free. Therefore it should remain free.