Exactly two weeks ago, I was pointing out how easily a domain name can be taken away from us. An hour or two ago as of this writing, one of my favorite websites went offline due to a copyright infringement claim by a certain entertainment giant one step removed from being able to print money and emit passports.
(No, I won't name them. Voldemorting matters. It takes mindshare away from people and organizations that don't deserve any. Helps reduce stress, too. Try it. Names really do have power.)
I can't help but feel guilty. The site's creator did say they were in trouble, and asked us not to point links at it anymore. But it would have been rude not to, right? That's how we say thanks to each other online. How we mention each other. Figured one link half-hidden on a blog nobody's heard of couldn't hurt, right? It probably didn't. I can't be sure though.
And if linking to each other's pages becomes dangerous, then the web dies.
Note my use of "pages" above rather than "sites". Because ultimately, a link points to one given page, that can be anywhere, say on a pastebin or wiki. Or on a NextCloud instance, accessible only with a password: the online equivalent of a speakeasy.
Is that really what we've come to? A game of whack-a-mole? Bust a speakeasy, three more open in its place? Because we can play that game all day long. It's a lot easier in the digital realm. Cheaper and safer.
It also makes it a lot harder to find the information we need. Or for that matter each other. Magnet links don't work nearly as well. Believe me, I've tried.
Besides, this is a human problem. Can't really solve those with technology. But short of abolishing copyright already, what else can we do?