You may think that last post sounded a bit paranoid, but ask yourself this. Assuming that this information was pulled from a press release, someone who wrote that press release decided to throw usenet and IRC out there as havens for illegal file swappers. Someone with enough knowledge of the internet to go there and look for illegal files, someone who would therefore see and experience first hand how much those technologies are used for many other purposes, who then still decided to call IRC a file-swapping app. Why would they do that? Either they don’t understand at all what they are looking at, or they’re trying to convince someone that Usenet, IRC and Napster are all about the same thing. I’m sure it’s not that they don’t understand the technology.
You see the thing is, if they can get a judge to rule that IRC and Usenet are violating copyright, while they certainly can’t shut down every server that Usenet and IRC use, it would be a simple matter to put pressure on American ISP’s to block Usenet and IRC traffic, since by allowing that traffic they’d be contributing to copyright theft, and well they’d have to block off just about every type of file sharing traffic to make sure they don’t run afoul of any ruling that said they were contributing to copyright theft. (Well in the case of AOL or Roadrunner, since it’s owned by a media conglomerate they would block it without it being a court ruling, I’m guessing, but it would put them at a competitive disadvantage so they don’t, for now.)
Once an ISP starts blocking certain traffic because it may be used to run around copyright, where will it stop? I could use my website to upload MP3’s, and I could host it offshore, so they’d have to block uploading, wouldn’t they? Thereby making it nearly impossible for anyone to have a website, unless you could get backbone access and connect yourself. This would, in essence, give complete control of all internet content to big media and make it nothing more than glamorized TV. (and maybe text-only email capabilities, but that’s pretty much it!) I fully expect there to be a court challenge eventually that pits the RIAA and MPAA against some ISP for not blocking file sharing traffic, and that case will decide whether the internet as we know it has a future in this country or not.
In other news:
In the forum topic for OpenOffice I posted the latest review of Open Office’s spreadsheet application, Calc. It’s way better than the HTML Editor, which gives new hope to the suite as a whole.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a hard drive to replace and re-image. 🙂
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