Times Comment: France’s anti-piracy law is like holding a tissue up to the breeze

Comment: France’s anti-piracy law is like holding a tissue up to the breeze: “From Times Online, June 18, 2008, by Jonathan Richards: Using heavy-handed tactics with ISPs is only latest in a line of tactics to defeat online piracy – and it won’t work “

Oh dear. It feels like the year 2000.

Once again the music industry is resolved to protect its property against the threat of illegal downloads – this time with the help of ISPs and some prodding from the French Government.

At the turn of the century it was Napster, the file-sharing site set up by Shawn Fanning, 19. The culprit of choice these days tends to be BitTorrent. There have been dozens in between – Kazaa, Limewire, and Grokster, to name a few. There will be countless more in the future.

But the record industry’s attempts to prevent online piracy seem like holding a tissue up to the breeze. Technology called peer-to-peer file-sharing has decentralised the whole process of distributing files – legally or illegally. There is no central server on whose door the authorities can knock. The task is shared between the myriad computers – all connected to the internet – that share content between themselves.

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