Streaming without borders

By Audrey SomnardLex KlerenMisch Pautsch Switch to French for original article

With the ubiquity of legal subscription-based streaming platforms, pirating content is no longer relevant. Or is it? And what exactly are the risks in Luxembourg?

Those younger than twenty cannot understand the anguish that internet users had in the days of low-speed internet in the late 1990s. It took hours to download content like movies and TV shows, to find the right content, in the right language, and of good quality. All of this was illegal, of course. It must be said that at the time, sites that allowed you to download copies of films were plentiful, and it was very easy to find them. The best known was Napster, the pioneer of the "peer to peer" sharing site. It allowed a file or data to be shared between different users while limiting the bandwidth used. The use of such a protocol also solves the problems associated with the original overloaded server.

For Internet users, this was the only alternative to physical media such as cinemas or DVDs at home. Streaming content did not yet exist, nor videos on demand, in short. The platforms of today, but a click away, paid for with subscriptions, were a thing of the future. With the advent of broadband internet, the downloading of pirated content has had a few good years, prompting the industry to react. Napster's role in transferring songs and the efficiency of the service raised the ire of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which promptly filed a lawsuit against the popular service on 7 December 1999. The lawsuit, which was intended to counteract Napster, only provided it with a huge amount of free publicity, which brought in millions of new users. Napster was taken down in 2001, after two years of legal proceedings in the US for copyright infringement. Other platforms have emerged, but the legal risks for them have made it increasingly difficult to download content illegally.

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