Dead Drops - file sharing takes to the streets

The creative industries have been mounting something of a futile battle against the onslaught of shared media online for the last decade. The ubiquity of digital media and its continued accessibility online means that copyright material – be it music or movies – is usually only a P2P click away.

There have been various high profile legal cases brought against both individuals and the digital companies that benefit from file sharing, from the vast fines levied at Jammie Thomas-Rasset to the recent permanent injunction against Limewire.

However, file sharing isn’t going away. In fact it’s making its way out of the shadows to go public – with news of a live tour.

Aram Bartholl, an artist currently in residence at Eyebeam in New York, has created a series of anonymous file sharing touch points at five locations across the city. These ‘Dead Drops’ – the name given to offline, peer to peer file-sharing networks in public spaces – consist of USB drives have been crudely cemented into walls, homes and poles enabling those who find them to download and upload files as they see fit.

A manual on ‘How to make your own dead drop’ is apparently imminent, as well as a map outlining the various locations of these devices, with the concept set to roll out on a more global scale.

Shoving your laptop up against a brick wall may not appeal to the masses, however this is an interesting trend that could have massive underground potential. As ever the biggest battle will be between those who see file sharing as a crime and those who see it as a massive marketing opportunity.

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