|Received:||11/15/2004 1:35:31 AM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Notice Announcing Public Workshop and Requesting Public Comment and Participation|
|Docket ID:||Not yet available|
Comments:In communications there is usually both a "high road" and a "low road". So-called "underground films" tend to be advertised on the low road, usually by word of mouth or other person-to-person communications. It is a peer-to-peer system, in other words. Meanwhile, the communications high road is the commen venue for large scale "shotgun" advertising to huge numbers of people at once. With respect to the Internet, because it was designed and built to transmit packets of information between one requesting computer and one answering computer, it is essentially a peer-to-peer communications system, a low road in which anyone who is connected can share ideas with anyone else who is connected. Those who prefer the high road undoubtedly want to rebuild the whole Internet, so that one computer can send packets to all others simultaneously. I'm not sure that this is theoretically possible without drastically reducing the number of computers that are allowed to send out packets. But WHO has the right to say that his or her Voice is so much more important than others, that all those others must be silenced forever by a rebuilt Internet? Well, then, if the Internet is not rebuilt, then its essential nature can forever be used by indivuals to transmit data directly to other individuals. That is the essence of peer-to-peer filesharing. Files of every conceivable type are transmissible -- and are transmitted. Yes, this is known to include files that have restrictions attached to them. There are a couple of different ways of looking at the situation. One is economic, in which Person A has invested significant effort into creating a file, and feels deserving of compensation by those who obtain it. Copyright laws exist to help that person. Another is international, in which most every nation has a copyright law, but in this case Person A's file is Officially Sensitive, and Person B is a spy who has the job of violating the copyright. Somehow I don't think that a Globally Enforced Copyright Law will put the slightest dent into the activities of various Persons B. Any tool that can be used can also be abused. Knowing this is why we do not ban pillows after somebody misuses one to smother somebody else. The Persons A who make those underground films (or underground music, poetry, theses, etc.) are sometimes desperate enough to have their work -- their VOICE -- heard and appreciated that they are willing to send them to anyone willing to receive them. This is a perfectly valid use for a specialized peer-to-peer filesharing tool. The tool is not at fault if Person B chooses to use it to spread copy-restricted data to friends far and wide. Thank you.