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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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April 28, 2004

One Way for the RIAA to Go on the Offensive

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Nearly two weeks ago Zeropaid reported that meta-filesharing software KCeasy, which supports several filesharing networks, received a cease and desist letter from Sharman Networks, providers of filesharing software KaZaA, because KCeasy interfaced with Sharman's FastTrack network (KCeasy leaves Fasttrack - v 0.12 Released). KaZaA, obviously, doesn't like the competition for a number of reasons.

As I noted in an earlier post (The Best Defense is a Good Offense), if the RIAA really wanted to put filesharing networks like KaZaA out of business, they should hit them where they are vulnerable.

The threat against KCeasy is an obvious example of where the RIAA can strike at KaZaA. The RIAA should be leading the way in reverse engineering KaZaA's interfaces and Sharman's FastTrack protocols and publishing them widely. The RIAA should also be providing legal support to the KCeasy's of the world.

Maybe the RIAA will win the Grokster lawsuit (hopefully not), but even if they do, the decision will only direct the next generation of filesharing software developers in how to program around the law. If the RIAA loses the Grokster lawsuit, then what?

They still go after Sharman by doing what Sharman doesn't like. For example, the RIAA could provide legal and technical assistance in developing KaZaA Lite (adware-free alternative KaZaA software). How many lawsuits can Sharman afford? How much competition can they really handle?

via /.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Big Thoughts


COMMENTS

1. cypherpunk on April 28, 2004 7:25 PM writes...

This is the craziest idea I've ever heard.

The problem with this strategy is that the RIAA is threatened both by commercial and non-commercial file sharing activities. The RIAA's problem is not Sharman, it is file sharing in general.

For the RIAA to give money and support to non-commercial file sharing would be cutting their own throat. Even if they succeeded in driving Sharman and other commercial operations out of business, they would have done so by making it even easier for people to engage in illegal file sharing than it is now.

This is like the government saying they are going to put the Mafia out of business by teaching everyone how to engage in prostitution, drug sales and extortion on their own. The solution is worse than the problem it claims to solve.

Permalink to Comment

2. Holmes Wilson on April 29, 2004 4:30 PM writes...

Another way to look at it is that, in the long term, open source filesharing clients are an even bigger threat to the labels than programs like Kazaa. At least Kazaa and other proprietary clients come bundled with annoying adware. Open source clients like KC Easy, while they don't have the same marketing budget, provide a much nicer user experience.

If someone tries a pay-per-download service like iTunes after using Kazaa, they'll be an instant convert to the simplicity of it all. If somebody's using a well-designed client like Poisoned or Acquisition, that will probably be less true.

For those of us who see filesharing as a music library and monopoly-busting tool, it's really too bad that Kazaa and other ad-supported programs have made filesharing such an annoying experience.

Permalink to Comment

3. Scott Sanders on May 3, 2004 3:07 PM writes...

I agree with cypherpunk's comments re: the article, and I am ideologically on the other end of the stick: I use Kazaa Lite extensively to download copyrighted (and non-copyrighted) works. To think that the RIAA would financially support my file-sharing! What a bizarre idea.

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