Court ruling another blow to file-swapping sites
future for file-swapping sites like KaZaA, Morpheus and Grokster
looks more uncertain in the wake of a federal court ruling that
may force an Internet provider to reveal the identity of a customer
who downloaded a large number of copyrighted music files.
District Court Judge John Bates ruled last week that Internet provider
Verizon must comply with a section of the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act (DMCA) that requires them to identify a subscriber suspected
of violating copyright laws by downloading illegal music files on
DMCA was signed into law in 1998 to provide copyright protection
for works in digital formats. Last July, the Recording Industry
Association of America, which represents the nation's largest music
companies, sought to use the law to get the identity of a KaZaA
user suspected of downloading 600 illegal music files. Verizon refused
to comply with a subpoena seeking the identify the user, citing
a section of the DMCA that said it only had to comply with the subpoena
if illegal files were stored on its computer servers.
a peer-to-peer service like KaZaA, the music files are never held
on Verizon's computers; the files are stored on one user's computer
and transferred via the Internet to another user. Verizon is simply
the connection that allows that transfer.
said forcing it to identify its subscriber would set a bad precedent.
If allowed to proceed, it could mean that Internet providers could
be forced to identify any user simply suspected of a copyright law
violation. Verizon said the identify of a user shouldn't be revealed
until that user has a chance to protest the subpoena in court.
Bates' ruled that the DCMA applied to an Internet provider because
they were part of the process of the illegal swapping of copyrighted
materials. The judge noted that the DMCA lacked any mechanism to
give suspected copyright violators the chance to protest a subpoena,
though in his opinion such an option would undermine the DMCA.
decision is being appealed, a spokesperson for Verizon said.
President Cary Sherman said that if the ruling stands, the RIAA
will contact the user "so we can let them know that what they
are doing is illegal."
FIRE. The Verizon ruling comes on the heels of another recent
ruling against KaZaA that gives the U.S. entertainment industry
the green light to sue them for copyright violations on U.S. soil.
both rulings have significant impact on the future of file swapping,
though there's one thing the entertainment industry and the court
system can't address: File-swapping's popularity continues to grow.
number of Web pages devoted to file sharing have increased by more
than 300 percent in the past 12 months, according to San Diego-based
Websense. There are more than 130 software applications available
to allow peer-to-peer file swapping, including the largest ones,
KaZaA, Morpheus and Grokster.
Not only are the more people swapping files, but the content is
becoming more diversified. The latest pop songs are still a big
draw, but users are also looking for episodes of their favorite
TV show, video game and software application.
than 5 billion music files were downloaded from peer-to-peer networks
last year, according to research firm The Yankee Group. Video game
downloads topped 5 million last year according to Trymedia, a game
developer. Movie downloads are thought to exceed a half a million
copies per day.
number of files are downloaded during normal business hours, where
employees in many cases have access to broadband Internet connections.
to Websense, file-swapping at the workplace wastes bandwidth and
can expose a company to potential liability from the entertainment
industry. The RIAA and Movie Producers Association of America gave
notice last year to the nation's largest companies that corporations
are responsible for files illegally downloaded by employees onto
SPAM OF 2002. Some things are universal, and apparently, this
includes junk e-mail or "spam."
story posted on the BBC News Web site highlights how global -- and
expensive -- the problem of spam has become.
Control, a British spam-filtering firm, estimates the cost of spam
to businesses around the world at nearly $9 billion. This figure
includes time spent to delete the messages; the cost of larger e-mail
servers and systems to cope with the increasing e-mails and the
time spent dealing with spam by networking staff members.
company has identified the Top 10 Most Annoying Spams of 2002, and
the list is remarkable in that it closely mirrors my choices if
I had prepared a similar list.
Copy DVDs in one click.
9. Meet singles in your area.
8. Get out of credit card debt.
7. The No.1 Pasta pot.
6. Best online casino.
5. Tiny remote control cars.
4. Nigerian scam.
3. Mortgage refinance.
2. Low price drugs (particularly Viagra).
1. Free adult site passwords.
TV. You may see more on television soon about the eBay auction
site than just its commercials. The auction giant has signed a deal
with Sony to produce EBay-TV, an hour-long eBay-inspired syndicated
program will be in a magazine-style format that is described as
a combination of "Entertainment Tonight" and "Antiques
Roadshow." The show will highlight unique and unusual auction
items and profile eBay buyers and sellers. The host of EBay-TV will
be Molly Pesce, formerly of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."
part of the programming package, each TV station that carries the
program will receive a station-branded auction Web site and earn
a commission on items sold there. EBay will pay the stations $6
for every eBay member who joins the service through one of the TV
station Web sites.
for EBay-TV to debut in the last half of the year.