Gnutella -- DeCSS Redux?
September 30, 2000 1:34 AM   Subscribe

Gnutella -- DeCSS Redux? Anyone catch the Salon article on gnutella? Speculation by Cary Sherman, general counsel of the RIAA, on how to bring gnutella down includes the following:
"...There are also people disseminating the program, and people who are using it to disseminate materials. There could be legal strategies to address that."
Once again people merely "disseminating" an otherwise legal program are -- the phase I believe is -- actionable.
posted by leo (8 comments total)
Lovely story.

The RIAA/MPAA would most likely bring up thousands of 14.4k connections and incessantly query the network for "forcedanalsex.asf". DoS Gnutella because - as with their response to Napster - the network is the one at fault.
posted by holloway at 3:08 AM on September 30, 2000

The case against Napster was like a Pyrrhic victory for Gnutella: it's suffered from its success. Smart types have already moved on, one step, two steps, a load of steps away from the RIAA and its legal strategies.

"Hey, genie... back in the bottle! Genie? Genie?"
posted by holgate at 6:12 AM on September 30, 2000

what are the viable alternatives to napster and what are the best ones from your list? gnutella doesn't work all that well for me....
posted by greyscale at 8:53 AM on September 30, 2000

If the reports are true, most Gnutella files are served by as few as 300 people on any given day. That would be easy for the RIAA to shut down -- they could go after the suckers among the 300 who have static IP addresses, which would have a chilling effect on the number of people offering MP3 files for download.

Gnutella's biggest mistake is that it doesn't automatically share the main folder you download files into. For this reason, all the newbies who jump on board are more likely to sponge, and might not even be able to figure out how to share files. Napster, on the other hand, doesn't let you download files to a folder that isn't shared.
posted by rcade at 9:23 AM on September 30, 2000

As far as calling the program "illegal", I think the rest of the tech industry would (or should) jump to its defense based on that insanely broad definintion. I mean, if they're going to outlaw any program that disseminates information (MP3 or otherwise), then they may as well outlaw IIS or Apache or Netscape. Or if its access to that info, then they'd have to outlaw IE or Netscape.
posted by owillis at 12:18 PM on September 30, 2000

rcade is pointing out a defect in the scheme and I totally agree with him. What I was pointing out though is a bit closer to what owillis was getting at, namely, calling the program -- in fact any program -- "illegal" without having to prove anyone in particular has done anything particularly "illegal" with it. It's the same thing as saying I've got a book about bomb making in my house and therefore I must be guilty of making bombs. I mean, what else is a book about making bombs for?... If this flies -- if this is the face of our brave-new-world judicial system -- we're all in trouble.

The funny thing is corporate associations like the RIAA and the MPAA already had enough advantages as it was. I guess they needed this extra little magic 'cause the net was just so much harder to crack. What disgusts me is how one-sided this all is -- the legislation, the laws, the legal action, the cease-and-desist letters -- all seem to be coming from one direction. I wish I could be as optimistic as holgate but I'm not. In ten years, it'll be: 'The Internet -- brought to you by Corporate America' with maybe one URL for PBS and another maybe for public access.
posted by leo at 1:21 PM on September 30, 2000

leo: the pace of the law is still much slower than the pace of technology, especially with conflicts of jurisdiction. As NTK reported a few weeks ago, there's no judgement against deep-linking in the UK; there's no DMCA either.
posted by holgate at 6:38 PM on September 30, 2000

guess that's why hotline is now in canada ;-)
posted by subpixel at 6:49 PM on September 30, 2000

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