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Monday, November 12th, 2007, 2:31 am

Creative Commons Peer to Peer

AUTHORITIES seem to be cracking down quite blindly on P2P and bittorrent activities. This is fairly recent news. I use neither torrents nor P2P, but it’s worrisome nonetheless. While it may be true that copyright infringement thrives in such networks, shutting them down immediately (or throttling, aka “network shaping”, aka packet discrimination and tiered Web) is a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There is a lot of legitimate and crucial data on those networks, such as Free software (e.g. GNU/Linux distributions).

There ought to be a better way to disseminate the vast amounts of art (music and video, for startes) that can be legally distributed. Consider various lenient licenses, public domain, Creative Commons, etc. Why not create a limited but huge catalog of music which can be shared legally and then only permit peers in the nwteork to exchange this trusted catalog? This would be perfectly legitimate. No need to hide anything, no need for warning letters from the RIAA, and so forth. Such a service/product would be the worst nightmare to a predatory media industry because no longer will people be required to buy new music the ol’ fashion way.

Many of us are willing to reuse and revive public domain material. We can listen to music that is no longer copyrighted. Why not share gigabytes of data that is perfectly legitimate music? At the moment it’s spreads in all sorts of places. It takes time to find it. But it’s there! There’s no point of centralisation and no peer exchange though, so the utility of the network’s potential remains low. It’s expansive to maintain from a single point. There’s not much choice or searching facilities, either. A service that is built as described here would be very valuable.

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