Double Whammy for Peer-to-Peer Creators and First Uploaders

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Two bits of news this week should cause consternation in the peer-to-peer development and initiation worlds.

First, California now has a bill wending its way through the law-making process which would require the developers of peer-to-peer and other file-swapping software to take “reasonable care” to ensure that their software cannot be used in the exchange of either copyrighted material, or child pornography.

Got that? If this law passes, the onus will be on the software developers to make sure that their product is not used for illegal purposes.

That’s a bit like requiring Ford and General Motors to make sure that nobody can run someone over with their car.

And exactly what the RIAA has attempted to get the Courts to buy into. And failed.

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The other item isn’t even a “could happen”, it’s an “is happening right now”.

California firm BayTSP, which bills themselves as an “online intellectual property monitoring” service, has announced a product called “FirstSource”, which, according to their press release, “identifies the first users to upload copyright- or trademark-protected content to the eDonkey and Bit Torrent peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.”

According to the press release, tests of their FirstSource service demonstrated that “several thousand copies of a movie available for download on the eDonkey and Bit Torrent networks can be traced back to the initial uploaded file,” and that further “identifying the first individuals who upload illegal content allows companies to track all subsequent users who download and share a particular file.”

In otherwords, the message to file sharers and enablers seems to be: “be afraid, be very afraid.”

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One thought on “Double Whammy for Peer-to-Peer Creators and First Uploaders

  1. Since the law “would require the developers of peer-to-peer and other file-swapping software to take “reasonable careâ€? to ensure that their software cannot be used in the exchange of either copyrighted material, or child pornography.”

    I would say that a computer network could be used for swapping illegal material, as well as FTP, BITS or any other products. Since technically the ISP is used as an instrument for this illegal activity they can be sued for an acomplish.
    Thus efectively the law will make the internet illegal, since it could be used to interchange copyrighted material.

    Also the word “reasonable” is in question here. What is reasonable. One can argue that is unreasonable to track every file on the network. Thus the only “reasonable” protection thing to do is to put a warning stating “This software should not be used for any illegal activities”. Which will make the law very stupid in nature.

    In other words, the law is yet another example of politicians trying to rule something that they do not understand.

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