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About this weblog
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.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

« In the Future, Everyone Will Have Fair Use for 2-4 Weeks | Main | Zittrain on the De-Evolution of the Net »

December 12, 2004

The Cure for Infringement

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Kill the Internet as we know it.

Reshape the network so that ISPs or other traffic routers could have certain controls that would discriminate between types of traffic. Monitor all the traffic and restrict anonymous communications so that we can track the source of distributed content.

That's the Swiftian solution proposed by Derek Slater in a post echoing and amplifying the point Fred von Lohmann is making repeatedly to the press folk covering MGM v. Grokster: This case isn't about the future of peer-to-peer technology. It's about all the other technologies that will be impacted by the effort to control it:


Making "P2P networks...illegal" involves more than flipping a switch and banning P2P networks narrowly. As Ed Felten explains, crafting a definition that includes P2P and leaves out most other Internet technologies is basically impossible.

A result against Grokster would thus affect myriad other technologies. But would it affect P2P? Not really. As the Darknet authors conclude, "the darknet-genie will not be put back in the bottle." [...]

Which is not to say that there would be no way to eliminate P2P. Let's not rehash the old "can we regulate the Internet" argument - sure we can.


No matter how the Supreme Court rules, P2P file-sharing software will continue to be available from distributors around the world, many of whom are beyond the reach of US laws. But the Court's ruling will shape the future of companies like Apple and products like the iPod and TiVo -- that is, any company that makes/wants to make/would have made a technology that enables infringement.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Big Thoughts


COMMENTS

1. conchis on December 12, 2004 6:25 PM writes...

This is the best summary I've seen yet of the issues surrounding this case.

The problem, as most Americans know in their gut, is that making a copy of something you own is inherently legal in our free society -- the right to do what one wants with one's own property is just so deeply built into the fabric of our free society, that overzealous attempts to limit it often threaten much broader elements of our civilization: in this case, our internet.

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