Wednesday, March 5, 2008

P2P v. copyright

Does uploading files to a file-sharing website automatically make one complicit in copyright violation? That's the question before a federal court in Arizona. On the surface, it seems like a weak defense: Yes, I uploaded files to a website whose only purpose is to allow other people to copy them for free, but gosh, you can't prove anyone took me up on the offer....

But it also seems to be the case that many file sharers aren't savvy enough to realize that they're contributing files, rather than just downloading them. UM counsel Jack Bernard tells me that students who have been accused of uploading files are always surprised to find that they've been doing so. He doesn't think they're lying, because they readily admit to their illegal downloading. They just didn't realize that, at the same time, they were providing their own music files to the same service.

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