Saturday, October 04, 2003

 
What's up with file downloads

In p2pnet.net | news | Coleman RIAA hearing - 'an autumn sprinkle' I finally see an analysis of the p2p situation that actually acknowledges what a grand mess this whole situation is. The RIAA is targeting innocent people, as well as children and seniors, in their efforts to stomp out illegal downloads. Meanwhile, p2p developers aren't in a very good position, either. The p2pnet.net article quotes a Reuters article:

"Some Capitol Hill veterans say that Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who called the hearing, is now part of a growing group of lawmakers that sees no easy way to solve the conflict between the record industry and peer-to-peer services," it says.

" 'After studying the issue, I think Coleman now recognizes that the Kazaas are inherently conflicted,' says lobbyist Manus Cooney, formerly chief of staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 'So there's no real incentive for the recording industry to license them. At the same time, the Kazaas have no real incentive to develop the technology solution to identify illegal downloaders because they'd be liable'."

This situation seems to be going from bad to worse. No one comes out looking good. Meanwhile, according to these articles, there is congressional concern about the subpoena powers granted under the DMCA - a piece of legislation which congress will, apparently, not be revisiting.

Adding to the whole confused, difficult mess, filesharing activity is down, either because of the RIAA lawsuits or because of usual "seasonal" fluctuations; at the same time, polls show a vast majority of teens see nothing wrong with downloading files (see this previous post).

I've been wondering for the last several months exactly how this situation would be resolved. It now appears that it simply might not be, at all. At least in the foreseeable future. At the heart of it all, perhaps this is a problem of stasis: there is no common starting point, no point of stasis from which all involved parties can even begin to converse with one another. Congress, the RIAA, Kazaa and other p2p app people, and United States filesharers - let's not even get into the international dimensions involved in this question. Definitional issues, evaluative issues certainly can't be agreed upon, and without those, proposing potential solutions is a fruitless waste of time.

Hmm, stasis-theory analysis of the current p2p scene? Might be an interesting topic to pursue further.

- posted by laurie @ 10/04/2003 02:51:00 PM
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