P2P Users Accused Of Automatically Violating Copyright

from the idiotic-policies dept

One of the stories Larry Lessig loves to tell is how, a few months back, he was experimenting with P2P software. He wanted to understand how it worked, and so he set up Morpheus on his machine in his office at Stanford. He used it to share some papers that he, himself, had written – and that was all. He wanted to see if people downloaded them and shared them. A few nights later he received a frantic call from Stanford network folks saying they broke into his office and unplugged his machine because someone had “hacked” his machine and installed Morpheus on it. He uses this talk to wonder when it became illegal to share things. It seems that BT is using the same ridiculous thought process. They’ve sent letters to people using their DSL service threatening to cut them off for using P2P services. The problem is that there’s nothing in their acceptible use policy that bans P2P. It does ban violations of copyright, but there are completely legitimate, non-copyright infringing uses of P2P software (such as Larry Lessig’s use above). Again, this seems to be a policy of people who don’t know any better, and who are making very silly assumptions.

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