For internet users, and those who store or download certain files from file sharing sites, the government decision to block these sites comes as a shock.
There are no doubt that certain files stored in these sites are infringing copyright act, but to impose a blanket block of these sites is like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.
Many people store their legitimate files on these sites. Even scientific files are stored and shared.
Sometimes, if a person wants to share a file with his uncle or brother or sister or friend overseas, it would be too tedious to send the file via email, if the file is big.
For example, yahoo allows a person to send an email with a 20meg limit. To send friends or relatives certain big files more than 20 meg, a person can upload and store the files in these file sharing sites and the intended person/s can then download it and view. Scientific files/medical files are stored for the same reason.
A person can post his wedding video on these sites for his classmates all over the world to view it. That is how file sharing sites function.
Those who use file sharing sites are not profiting from monetary gains, since most downloads are free.
It is like you buy a harry Potter book from the bookstore and after finishing it, you lend it to someone else. It is perfectly legitimate, as long as you don’t make any monetary gains from it. You can also start a book club, and invite people to share books that they have bought by keeping these books in the library of the book club.
File sharing sites are like book clubs.
Furthermore, to ban it or block it is contrary to government promise not to censor internet.
I do not know about those policy makers. To us common people, a promise is a promise. To renege a guarantee made not to censor internet is a big slap to the integrity of the government.
To combat piracy, they can do better to go round closing those stores selling pirated dvds. These are becoming ubiquitous, and just go to any shopping complex or pasar malam, you can see people selling pirated discs.
The government can do well to clean their own backyard first before trying to censor internet, as almost all these file sharing sites are hosted overseas, and users are from all over the world. When within our own backyards, there are still so much of rubbish, why bother to clean other people’s houses.
There re also many ways to bypass the block.. Read David Wang’s site.