Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    Am I a Criminal?

    A number of years back I borrowed a movie from Gail, a friend of mine - Fiend without a Face. He purchased this movie, and I saw it while perusing his SciFi collection. After all the "wows" and "oh yeahs" he let me borrow it - a classic. Am I a criminal now for viewing a movie I didn't pay for? Is my friend a criminal for letting me borrow it? Have you ever let a friend borrow a movie or music CD or been on the receiving side of this type of friendly exchange?

    This kind of sharing can happen electronically as well. Known as file sharing or P2P (point-to-point) transfers people on the internet can make files available to share. There is no money exchanged (usually) so it's not as if some company is trying to steal money for some protected work (usually music).

    "The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said it would hear a controversial case on whether file-sharing software companies could be held legally responsible for copyright infringement on their networks." (c|net News) The entertainment industry has found it difficult to go after the people actually sharing whatever they are sharing so now they are trying to go after the companies that provide the framework. Sort of like someone traveling in your state then gets in a car accident and now can take legal action against your state for allowing cars on the roads. Unbelievable.

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