Just writing about 4chan can make you nervous. You feel obligated to add the caveat “we love 4chan!” That’s nothing more than a plea of “please don’t take down my site”. 4Chan has been active lately as you may have heard. They are on a crusade against anti-file-sharing companies and they are making a statement.
The latest came today, as announced on TorrentFreak, when 4Chan (or Anonymous as the group is sometimes known) took down the UK Intellectual Property Office. As of this writing (9:24pm EST on 10/17/2010) the site is still down. Over the past few weeks they have also taken down the web sites of the MPAA, RIAA, AiPlex, and ACS:Law to name a few.
While we here at GNC don’t advocate piracy, it does make us smile a bit when these stories crop up. After all, nobody really likes or advocates the tactics used by these firms to oppress the average user, while doing little to stop real piracy. After all, suing grandma for downloading three songs (if she even did, which is another story) seems pointless when people in China and Indonesia are cranking out thousands of fake CD’s and DVD’s for sale on street corners.
The question I have is this – is this a worthwhile tactic? Like any protest it’s a matter of making statement. People have been doing that for years, most notably in the 1960’s. But does it accomplish anything in the long run? I suppose it gets the word out, it makes headlines, and gets peoples attention, which is something.
It would seem to me that, while getting the word out accomplishes something, a more worthwhile campaign would be something that really hits the organizations like the MPAA and RIAA in the wallet. Organizing a boycott against their products would be the biggest hit I can think of. If even a small percentage of people could be persuaded to not buy the products then the impact would be felt quickly by these groups.
Overall, I guess the headline grabbing site attacks could serve as the attention-getter for the general public, but there has to be follow-up to make a real difference. So will 4Chan take that extra step or will they stick to the attacks and leave the organization of further action up to someone else to organize? I think it will be the latter. So who will step up to take the protest to the next level? Anyone? If not, this will end right where it is now – an amusing story, a few sites that no one visits anyway will be down for a while and in the end nothing will change.