File Swapping - Not Likely to Stop with Ruling

CNET: Ruling won't slow file swapping, experts say

CNET: Excerpt: "The Supreme Court may have dealt file-swapping companies a blow on Monday, but its decision is unlikely to put a damper on the illegal sharing of music and other media online anytime soon, industry experts say.

In its ruling, the nation's top court found that file-swapping companies Grokster and StreamCast Networks should be held liable for the widespread copyright infringement their technologies enable.

The decision casts uncertainty on the fate of Grokster and other file-swapping companies, but not on the viability of file-swapping itself, an activity that has only flourished under legal attacks, observers said. That's because the software that underlies peer-to-peer networks, used now by more than 8 million people simultaneously around the world, is designed to function and evolve without the aid of any particular commercial venture." (end excerpt).

My Take: I'm all for legal downloading and against piracy, but enforcement is going to be an uphill battle as long as you have two people; two computers and a program, movie or a song to share. There are tens of millions of peer-to-peer networks around the world and many are in some in countries where the SCOTUS has no jurisdiction. The media companies can go after the "big fish", but no one has the resources or time to chase everyone, everywhere.

Suing teens and elders isn't the answer either.

To date the only profitable model - and in my opinion - workable model is Apple's iTunes, iPod, 99-cent a download model. Others like Yahooare trying to use subscriptions, but I don't think that shows any potential at all. Who wants to "rent" music?

The answer isn't easy. No one "owns" the internet (no matter what some jurisdictions may think). Media companies are going to eventually get off the 'litigation route' and on to the creativity route if they want to curtail this problem - although they will never alleviate it completely.

NOTE: CNET has more links here for other articles on the SCOTUS decision today.