Copyright Material Can Be Nebulous

There is nothing illegal about peer-to-peer networks, and nothing illegal with using them to distribute files on Isohunt. What is illegal is to use these networks and associated software to download material which is protected by copyright. It is not always obvious what is still copyright protected, though you can be fairly certain that anything recent, such as recent chart hits or new computer games, cannot be legally copied using P2P software. Blockbuster films will also be copyright protected, but there are many films which have been specifically made for free distribution. There are lots of new artists who use peer to peer networks to get themselves known. There are many computer games which are released on P2P networks to have them tried out prior to fixing the bugs and releasing them for general sale. This is the one aspect of the use of P2P services that makes me think of the morality of such networks rather than the legality.

The reasons for observing copyright restrictions are well known. Copyright is a protection of an artist’s work from plagiarism and unauthorized copying. If everyone copied every piece of music or every film from a free online service such as peer-to peer networks, then the originators and the artists would make no money from them. This would result in the breakdown of the entertainment industry, and I can understand that line of reasoning. So don’t get me wrong. I am not proposing that people should be allowed to break the law, and I firmly agree that copyright violation should be illegal and should be punished. My argument is against the movie and music industry and their false morality in campaigning for such high fines for copyright violation by young kids while condoning, and in some cases positively encouraging, lawbreaking, obscene and improper behaviour and illegal drug taking by so called artists who are making them money.

Leave a Reply