#98621, By Moonbender crack down on kazaa???

  • Moonbender 29 Jun 2003 16:13:54 407 posts
    Seen 7 years ago
    Registered 16 years ago
    You're missing my point. I've said before, I doubt the industry intents to pursue the impossible goal to kill (Internet) piracy. The point is to make people believe there's a risk associated to the use of P2P software - if the mainstream believes that, then enough people will refrain from using the software (given alternatives). There will always be a core crowd using newer better P2P services, realising that the risk of being caught is still very, very low, but realize that Kazaa is the most downloaded piece of software according to c|net with tens of millions of users.

    Obviously you are right in saying that the bottleneck of human identification will prevent the music industry from suing more than a tiny fraction of those millions. But with the process I described, it would take less than a minute for each case of copyright violation, which is a small enough amount of time to send letters out to hundreds of people every day.
    Note that the process I described does not require anyone to know every piece of music out there, I was very well aware that this would be a problem. Instead, you concentrate on just one or a few songs you listen to before searching for those titles over the network. That's where Kazaa's searching feature comes in kinda handy. Given popular enough titles, you'll get a wealth of results, each likely being a case of copyright violation, and each probably the song you were looking for, which you listened to and can identify easily.
    Note also that I very much doubt the RIAA will actually use a process similar to the one I describe, they'll work with lots of more human interaction to make sure there are no mistakes made (although I am sure there will be, anyway). But even so, even if it takes them a quarter hour for each case, four people can still do the work required to send out letters to dozens of people everyday.
    And really, they don't have this for long. Either their scare tactics work, or they don't. After they've sued or threatened a couple of hundreds or thousands of kids downloading music, either they get lots of (outraged, I am sure) media coverage and people kind of cease downloading stuff, or the people continue un-impressed. Whatever the case, after this is going on for a few weeks, the media (apart from Slashdot and El Reg) won't care anymore and the RIAA has lost their reason to continue, they'll have to think of something new.

    But don't underestimate the effectiveness of scare tactics. It very much depends on whether they get the average joe or soccer-mum to believe it's a dangerous thing to do.

    The fact is that while the legal process involved might seem prohibitive, apparently it's worth it to the RIAA. They've already sued folks in some cases. Not your standard P2P users, but they've threatened people hosting FTP servers which allegedly served copyrighted stuff (in one case threatening someone who was hosting open-source software. (I just remembered, I think this was the BSA, but meh, same difference.) They've threatened soldiers at a Navy college, and most recently have sued two college students who were running a search engine - and got $30,000 out of it.
    If they threaten P2P users and settle for thousands of bucks in many cases, heck, it might just end up being a profitable venture for the RIAA.

    That said - I don't think we're totally contrary, really. I do tend to think that this will be just as fruitless as everything the RIAA has done before (apart from bribing the legislation), and I hope the media coverage it gets will be largely negative. But I doubt it'll end up in helping P2P software users by creating more publicity, as some analysts apparently believe. I do hope the next-generation P2P applications that might result from this won't be less convenient as the current ones - and I'm sure the RIAA hopes the opposite, since convenience is probably the most important aspect for the non-geek user.

    Apologies for such a large write-up, I just happen to think it's a very interesting topic. =)
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