Monday, April 21, 2003

From Judge: File-swapping tools are legal (cnet)

"Defendants distribute and support software, the users of which can and do choose to employ it for both lawful and unlawful ends," Wilson wrote in his opinion, released Friday. "Grokster and Streamcast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights."


However, the ruling appeared to state clearly that decentralized peer-to-peer software such as Gnutella is legal, in much the same way that the Sony videocasette recorder is protected by law.

Finally, a judge that recognizes that a tool is just a tool -- it is neither good nor bad -- it is how the tool is used that matters.

I would think that the very legal, above the boards, high-profile, P2P based distribution accomplishments of BitTorrent could be used as an excellent example of how P2P is being used in a positive fashion.
8:15:10 AM  pontificate    

WASHINGTON — While Humvees sped toward Baghdad, the machinery of the federal government plodded along at home, churning out laws, executive orders and court decisions that passed relatively unnoticed by a public fixated on the war. ....

It wasn't that the public was fixated on the war. It was very definitely that the media ensured that the public had little choice!

Until very recently, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the rest of the various "news" sources all had "War in Iraq" as their 24/7 channel listings in TV Guide, on my TiVo or via any other electronic means of querying their schedules.

USA Today, NewsWeek, Time and other print media have had 80% of their political or world events print focused on the "war" in Iraq with SARs consuming a good chunk of the remaining space.

So, you tell me: did the lawmaking group's-- state and federal-- efforts to gain critical momentum behind a series of proposal, bills, laws, etc... during the "war on Iraq" go unnoticed because the public wasn't interested?


Or did it go unnoticed because the major media outlets haven't reported on anything else since the "war" began?

Sure-- media in the US is driven by marketability. Supposedly, any given news outlet generates "news reports" in a fashion that will grab the largest market share.

However, it seems less like the various news outlets actually report news that matters and focus much more effort on sensationalizing otherwise mundane or completely irrelevant events simply to grab viewers.

That is, the "major" news outlets are nothing more than tabloids claiming to be legitimate. They focus on events of import to the point that nothing else gets air time. They ignore very important events if said events are somewhat dry. And-- worst of all-- they focus on events that are largely irrelevant to the point where people react for no good reason.

That seemingly huge number of child abductions last summer that had parents freaking out throughout the country? Actually... the number of kids being abducted during that period was about the same as the years before, if not slightly lower.

All those shark attacks that had people shying away from the ocean the year before? Nothing like a little media hype to generate fear in a situation where the actual numbers were lower than in years past.

Of course, that the law making and law enforcement bodies are doing everything in their power to rape the rights of US citizens is not deemed interesting enough to get any serious air time (if any at all?).

If they average US voter casts their vote based on the "news" presented by the major media outlets, then we [US citizens] are completely screwed.
12:57:34 AM  pontificate