Don't get me wrong, I'm all for artists getting reasonably paid for their work, it's all the other fat cats that make their money off the artists that piss me off. Along comes this story which brings up memories of three months ago when I first heard about the frightening MGM v. Grokster verdict which ruled that Grokster was at fault for promoting illegal file sharing because it did not explicitly discourage illegal file sharing.

So now cease-and-desist letters from lawyers to peer-to-peer companies go flowing out to all the other P2P companies. The result? From the article, the president of Metamachine (company behind eDonkey) Sam Yagan is quoted:

...because the court hasn't offered a standard to define how to measure whether a company is inducing users to infringe, any litigation will result in exhaustive trial proceedings during which organizations like the RIAA will dig up company e-mails, advertising, and any other evidence that might prove the file-sharing company intended to induce copyright infringement. Such a process would be just too expensive for most P-to-P companies...

So because they can't afford the legal fees, these companies will likely crumple into "closed" P2P networks like Napster did. Isn't there something wrong with that? Hasn't the horribly convoluted and expensive legal system completely failed these companies?

The internet has caused the old distribution model to be almost completely flattened. Now anyone with a camcorder and some time to kill can make a movie and publish it worldwide. To make an understatement plain: I don't think anyone quite realized the full extent that a global computer network would have on society.

It is both frightening and fascinating to watch the entertainment industry going through its painful evolution. These latest attempts, coupled with heavy research being sunk into advanced copyright protection (in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD) and recent high-profile fines to bootleggers of popular movies are nothing short of a full-on war being waged by the entertainment industry. Don't they realize that all previous efforts to stop piracy have failed? Next time I go spend $10/person on a movie ticket I'll be wondering how many of those dollars are funding this onslaught instead of making quality entertainment.

[Update: This related story also just surfaced. The entertainment industry is just sounding more and more like greedy misers scrounging for every penny. They know their days are numbered. ]

§160 · September 30, 2005 · Entertainment, Technology · · [Print]

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