mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Son, where did you learn to download music? I learned it from watching YOU...

Thanks to Volokh I now know that the MPAA has released a tool for parents to scan their kids machines to find illegally downloaded files and file-swapping programs.

This makes me wonder if their really any parents who are knowledgeable enough about peer to peer file sharing legalities but not smart enough to click start->programs to see if Kazzaa is installed or type *.mp3 into the windows search box to see what files are on the machine?

Volokh also worries that the program will report back to the MPAA what it finds. Normally I would dismiss this as paranoid, but I'm not so sure. The MPAA and RIAA have done some shady stuff. They have filed suits against college students who wrote search utilities for windows shares and try to paint them in the media as if they were hosting the files, not just writing a tool to search them, and at one point were trying to make it legal to launch denial-of-service attacks or reformat the hard drives of people found to be sharing files.

The tool itself seems pretty bad, too - it searches for It searches for and identifies virtually any audio or video file, including popular formats like MP3, Microsoft's Windows Media, the AAC files that Apple Computer's iTunes software often uses, or MPEG video. This almost makes it seem like the RIAA wants electronic music distribution, like iTunes, to fail. It's hard to imagine too many people having pirated AAC's, so why include them? There is a good chance that a non-tech-savy parent won't know the difference between a legal AAC or MP3 and a pirated one.

The biggest thing, though, is that many people don't consider file-sharing wrong, or at least not a serious wrong. And when you think about it, can you blame a parent for wanting to emphasize other things above file sharing. Chances are you have a limited amount of time to lecture your kids - wouldn't you rather use it to focus on staying away from drugs or sex than WinMX and eMule? File sharing is like speeding - it's illegal, but most people feel that it's acceptable. I doubt many parents stay awake at night worrying if Johnny is downloading pirated music.


At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually i kinda learned how to download from a site i got from my son. I readed some tutorials and now i've been downloading things with areslite. I actually found some movies and old bootleg singles.

At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just checked great site! thanks voor the tip of your son :-)


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