P2P Letter Treads Dangerous Road
A draft letter demanding P2P software companies do a better job of protecting consumers from the dangers of file sharing or face legal action threatens innovation.A draft letter posted to P2P Web sites and purportedly written by california Attorney General Bill Lockyer and circulated to other state attorneys general demands P2P software companies do a better job of protecting consumers from the dangers of file sharing or face legal action. In listing the numerous potential hazards associated with P2P, the draft echoes claims previously made by critics of the popular software: "Whether it is the widespread availability of pornography, including child pornography, the disclosure of sensitive personal information to millions of people, the exposure to pernicious computer worms and viruses or the threat of legal liability for copyright infringement, P2P file-sharing software has proven costly and dangerous for many consumers." In light of recent efforts by the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America to defend copyright privileges through court action, such a statement from industry players might be expected. The fact, however, that such a statement could come from state prosecutors is deeply troubling, as it might signal attempts to control content on the World Wide Web and eventually extend that control to the Net itself.
Technology creates more opportunities than it destroys. The private sector should determine how to turn those opportunities into profits. It is wrong for the public sector to cripple innovations because they cause short-term disruptions.