The P2P companies have decided that ridding their systems of child pornographers is probably a good PR move:
- Online file-sharing networks, used by millions of consumers to trade digital music, videos, games and software, are beginning to work with law enforcement to crack down on child-pornography purveyors who use their systems.
Officials of two trade associations representing several companies doing such “peer-to-peer” — or P2P — file sharing said yesterday that they are cooperating with the FBI to attack the problem, which has drawn the ire of several members of Congress.
One group, P2P United, hopes to develop a system similar to the once-common placement of missing children’s pictures on milk cartons. P2P United’s members, including Grokster, Morpheus, Blubster and BearShare, would showcase photographs of individuals wanted for child pornography on their home and installation pages, said Adam M. Eisgrau, the organization’s executive director.
The largest file-sharing network, Kazaa, has been cooperating with the FBI for months to help track down known child-porn traffickers on its system, said Marty Lafferty, chief executive of the Distributed Computing Industry Association
….The moves represent a turnabout for an industry that argued for some time that it merely provided a vehicle by which individuals share digital material, and that it could not monitor or help police their behavior.
….Under the P2P United plan, pictures would be drawn from data the FBI already provide to the television show “America’s Most Wanted.” The photos would contain links to help users then contact the FBI with tips or leads about the suspect.
Final details with the FBI have not yet been resolved, Eisgrau said, but he hopes to have the program up and running in 60 to 90 days.
In circumstances of “a serious criminal abuse” of Kazaa’s technology, the company will “pull out all the stops” to help locate the suspect, Lafferty said. In addition to helping with enforcement, Kazaa is working on technology that will enable users to flag pornographic files, which are sometimes disguised with innocent keywords, Lafferty said.
Lafferty said his members’ efforts are designed to send a message that “P2P is the dumbest place you could ever want to put up criminally obscene content. It’s like standing up in the town square and shouting, ‘I’ve done something illegal.’” [Washington Post]
While I despise the copyright industry’s tactics and refusal to try to work with the P2Ps toward their mutual benefit, I also know the P2Ps have been disingenuous about not being able to do anything about the content of what gets shared on their systems and their expressions of zero culpability in facilitating illegal activity. This report is evidence that they will do what they have to do when they have to do it.