Home > Uncategorized > P2P Advocates Brace for Apocalyptic Autumn

P2P Advocates Brace for Apocalyptic Autumn

30-Aug-06 11:23 pm EST Leave a comment Go to comments

Back in May, I commented here on an issue dear to my heart: peer-to-peer file sharing technology and a Canadian website operator who managed to draw himself enough attention to get sued by a representative of the MPAA.  (They’re the guys who sue ya if you’re caught downloading movies on the Internet – typically their favourite target is nearly-broke college students who download movies using the big pipes that hook-up colleges to the Internet.)  Well, while browsing the aforementioned site – isoHunt.com – again tonight for the first time since my hospital stay, I was surprised to find that the anticipated summer lull in legal action hadn’t been completely gavel-free.  A big site operated by Swedish admins called "The Pirate Bay", menacingly enough, ended up becoming the subject of diplomatic pressure by none other than the Yanks to pull it off the net!  Yep, Uncle Sam tried twisting the arm off the quiet, arctic socialist utopia because – how does that tired old refrain go again?  "The site violates copyright and international law, people’s rights, etc., etc.

Now, leaving aside whether or not the Yanks are in any position to be championing the rights of the individual on the international stage or holding itself up as the nation best-equipped to defend adherence to treaties and international law – whether a country chooses to allow its citizens to trade software using P2P technology seems patently (no pun intended) to be an entirely domestic affair, in which the Americans, despite their farcical digressions on a new world order comprised of a community of nations with due respect for one and other’s laws, borders, etc. would consequently be poking their Pinocchio-esque shnoz.

And they might well be told to bugger off, although they might be numb to such polite, diplomatic tones at this point.

To up the stakes a little on this subject, the Yanks even threatened economic sanctions if they didn’t comply!  Did anyone bother to ask why they were so hell-bent on pursuing the Sweeds because of TPB and not, say, the Chineese government whose communist regime thinks about as much of copyright as Fidel Castro might think of a get well card from George Bush?

It doesn’t bode well for the fall and winter months coming.  Indeed, it’s looking more and more like the establishment (and the movie & music producers with their political lobbyists in tow) are getting themselves positioned to torpedo P2P right out of existence.  And here in Canada, with Prime Minister we’re discovering to our horror is far more right-of-center than any has been in the past 50 or so years (notwithstanding Diefenbaker; the guy who at the urgings of his American cousins was single-handedly responsible for making sure Canada never produced its own fighter planes, so the Americans could always have to sell ’em to us).

How does someone wake up his fellow citizens to the threat the end of P2P poses the Internet and mobilize a political resistance around it? The odd coverage by Terry Milewski, like his piece on CBC this past May is a starting point – maybe.  But surely, not the end.  If it becomes okay to limit how information is shared on the Internet just a little bit, there’s a legal precedent set and it becomes a lot easier to do it again and again; under all kinds of conditions.  Conditions that might shortly thereafter jeopardize privacy and free-speech.  And those of us familiar with the technology don’t have to stretch our imaginations very much to see it coming.

How does one blow this whistle?  The Pirate Bay weathered its storm – the Swedish constitution once again served to protect the little utopia from the greed and unquenchable thirst for power that so epitomizes the Yankee trader.  In Canada, Herr Harper likely doesn’t know or care enough about P2P to jeopardize his desire for closer Canadian ties to the U.S.  And so the government might well get its hands into logging home PCs and scanning packets for traffic that might be piracy or whatever passes for viable means to get probable cause to raid someone’s house for pirated software.  Because we have to make sure those poor, starving movie producers make their money.

God help us…

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Terry Glavin

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