I believe, and this is shared by many others, while it is not officially announced, it is obvious that after the SOPA and PIPA was stalled by the world, the USA, or more specifically the FBI (I think), started cracking down on many file uploading sites, where much of our free resources come from. This cripples a large portion of our sharing, as many people prefer direct downloads compared to Distributed Downloads via P2P software, like torrents.
Torrents can easily be cracked down upon also, if they want to further incur the wrath of the rest of the world. Torrentspy was shutdown in a "cease and desist" order, which, them being nice people, and/or not having the resources to face these overly bathing-in-money rich corporations, simply obeyed and left the face of the planet. Thankfully, thepiratebay.org has been up and about, fighting, and resisting all the way, and I really, really respect them for that.
The big bullies with all the money will continue to try to put down everything else that they see that could potentially make them less money, and as long as the cost to do so is lower than their potential earnings after whatever they want to put down is finally put down, they will continue to try. (We must continue to try to make this process extremely costly for them. The more the cost, the less likely they will try)
This is where the end user comes in. There are 7 billion of us on the planet, of which a few hundred million have access to the internet somewhere in the world. Power in numbers is TRUE power, and not something that can be shaken a stick at (and, I don't recommend you try). We currently are going through nodes, i.e. sites and protocols, which are the choke points (in military strategy), and it will be of interest to whoever who tries to stop us, to focus their attention on choke points. Sooner or later (let us hope later, I'll discuss that in a while), there really will not be anymore free web, unless Capitalism takes a dive. However, there will still be a free internet. And by this, I mean, that the "choke points" will all be blocked. And, we users, will stop playing on the "ground" and take to the "skies".
Open up the world of direct P2P sharing (a revival from times when Limewire, Napster, Ares, etc, were really popular). The next step for everyone. But this time, instead of sharing with unknown peers over the internet, or using servers as trackers (like torrenting), you share with your FRIENDS via NORMAL transfer software like msn, ftp, etc, or even thumbdrives and harddisks. These make use of existing protocols that cannot be shutdown (or the internet itself will die), and with open source and other freeware, it will be extremely easy to establish a direct connection to your friend's computer to share with them anything they'd like.
The setback about this is that you need to know many people if you want to get stuff easily, and also, the rate of spread will be slow. But it can be as fast as it is now, once we have the software to back it up. It will be a different type of software than the ones we use now. And surely, you wouldn't mind helping out your friend who wants to watch that next movie, or grab a copy of that song you have wouldn't you?
Sharing directly also requires fast internet connection, and this is why we need to wait. If you're lucky to be getting symmetrical broadband plans, good for you, but alot of people are on asymmetrical, which means they can't upload as fast as they can download. The connection will only be as fast as the slowest pipeline, so we need a high bandwidth symmetrical plan EACH, for it to work well. Thankfully, fibre access is coming to many places in the world, slowly, but surely. As it covers more of the planet, and internet speeds increase, we will have no problems transferring that huge file (or files) over to another person for them to enjoy. But we need time to let this happen.
We're all connected very few "relation ties" apart. Ever heard of the "6 hops away" thing? It's the statistical average number of relations between anyone in the world. I know you, you know another, and so on. By the time it has reached the 6th person, almost everyone in the world is "known by you". Sharing data can be easily done that way, and that is how it's going to eventually go once the free web goes down.
All these sounds a little tedious and tough, but it should remind you of why all this started in the first place. People do not want to pay so much. Until prices come down, which won't be soon (cause: greed), sharing and copying will continue. If you feel that it's not worth your money, you will definitely not pay. No one will. That's the basic principle that everything runs on. By trying to tackle the problem without addressing the root, those greedy corporations will never taste victory. The problem, is really, themselves. And until they recognise that, they will continue to fight a losing battle.
The internet itself is impossible to control, unless you eradicate it altogether. Direct sharing will be the next step, and I believe and recommend that we should start working on it in our garages, while delaying the breakdown of the free web. That way we will be ready when it happens.