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“Outlaw’s” Code

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The P2P networks, minus leader Kazaa, have revealed a new “code of conduct”:

    Several Internet “peer-to-peer” networks unveiled a code of conduct on Monday to encourage responsible behavior among the millions of users who copy music, pornography and other material from each others’ hard drives.

    The networks also asked Congress to figure out some way that recording companies and other copyright holders can be reimbursed for the material traded online and urged users to get involved.

    ….P2P United members — Lime Wire, Grokster, Blubster, BearShare, Morpheus and eDonkey 2000 — said they would help law enforcers track down child pornographers, would make it easier for users to protect sensitive material on their hard drives, and would not secretly install spyware on users’ computers.

    The group also said it would encourage users to learn about copyright laws but would not install filters or otherwise limit users’ ability to trade copyrighted material. Such filters would not be technically feasible and would infringe on legally permitted methods of sharing, they said. [Reuters]

In other words, they aren’t going to do much differently, other than try to clean up that perky child pornography issue. But this is significant:

    P2P United invited the recording companies to sit down and negotiate a method so they could be paid for the copies users make of their materials. Members suggested various models such as the per-song fee radio stations pay song publishers or the small surcharge levied on blank video and audio tapes, but steered clear of specifics.

    As was the case with radio, the videocassette and other technologies that have eventually enriched Hollywood, content owners have more to gain from negotiation rather than litigation, they said.

    “Music is what it is in big part because of radio,” said Pablo Soto, chief executive of the Blubster network.

P2P is the new radio and users should be free to share just as radio is free to play whatever it wants within a licensing structure.

More on the matter here. The P2Ps may have more negotiating leverage now due to the Grokster decision.

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About Eric Olsen