John Walker's Electronic House

CW 180

Copyright Watch 180

John Walker rounds up the latest nonsense being thrown around regarding file sharing.

The devastating result of the Grokster Supreme Court case ruled against all the odds (and indeed against all the other courts in America who had previously reached the opposite conclusion), that owners of P2P networks are responsible for the ‘customers’ who use them. This is much like claiming the owners of telephone networks are responsible for the actions of those who use phones. But because it’s ‘new’ technology, idiotic rules can eventually be levered into place, so long as you have endless amounts of your customer’s money to spend on court case after court case until you manage to find one that agrees with you. However, funny thing: it seems they might be too late.

Recent reports on the use of file sharing networks show that music is making up a lesser share of traffic than ever before, and while film is still the most shared data (at about 60%), even it is on the decline. CacheLogic’s August survey found that over 42% of traffic was categorised as ‘other’, a lot of it deemed, wait for it, “legitimate”. No! But surely not! P2P is used exclusively by evil terrozrizt [note to sub: sic] pirates, funding their evil campaigns to rain down unspecific DANGER upon the world’s unsuspecting tiny baby children?

It would appear that with study after study published demonstrating that mp3-sharing encourages CD sales, even the RIAA are backing down on that angle. Which of course means they’re picking an even more stupid one. RIAA chief executive Mitch Bainwol has announced that it’s CD burners that are the real demons. He claims that hard-duplication accounts for 29% of recorded music obtained by fans, compared with only 16% by P2P. Home taping is killing music, indeed. Personally, we believe up to 97% of copyrighted music is heard by “ears”, and we are beginning our campaign against them immediately.