Worldwide Police Action Against File-Swappers
This week, over a dozen countries participated in raids aimed at curtailing illegal file swapping over the Internet. Many arrests were made and a good deal of computer equipment was confiscated.
This multi-national law enforcement action goes to show what a worldwide problem illegal file swapping has become. Here in the U.S., the issue is being consistently litigated in our courts. The Supreme Court recently ruled that companies who provide file swapping software can, in some instances, be held liable for the criminal behavior of their customers. But going after the software developers can only dent but not stop file swapping. For every one Napster taken down, ten Groksters grow in its place.
While vigorous investigation and prosecution of file swappers should continue, the only real solution will have to be a technological one that some how prevents duplication. Otherwise, music companies, movie producers and even book publishers are going to have to deal with diminished profits. And diminished profits for them means less product for us.
If nothing else, we need a cultural understanding that illegally downloading an album from the Internet is no different that shoplifting a CD from a store. File-swapping has the potential to be a serious economic problem. I hope it can be dealt with soon.