The Internet's next big thing: file sharing

No, believe it or not, you're not reading that headline in a time traveling device, I actually said that the Internet's next big thing will be file sharing. And why will file sharing be so popular in the next few years even though organizations are doing

No, believe it or not, you're not reading that headline in a time traveling device, I actually said that the Internet's next big thing will be file sharing. And why will file sharing be so popular in the next few years even though organizations are doing everything possible to stop the spread of such "egregious" activities? Because organizations are doing everything possible to stop the spread of such "egregious" activities.

Sometimes I wonder if government officials and the RIAA cronies ever had mothers that taught them how to handle with things they didn't like. For example, when you were in school and kids ridiculed you for your looks or your taste in music, did calling the teacher over or telling mommy and daddy do you any good? Now what if you ignored those people? Did that work? I'll bet it did.

In an effort to eradicate those evil, awful, disgusting file sharing criminals, governments and organizations from around the world are united in the ideal that all-out brute-force tactics will take the day. And while it may have stopped Napster and LimeWire (to a small degree), has it stopped AllofMP3 who just moved to another domain? Did it stop the defendants in a recent German trial who were accused of "criminal damage" until the judge called the offense "petty"? Hate to break it to you so harshly, but trying to scare people into stopping file sharing isn't going to work. And the more you do it, the worse it'll get.

As I've mentioned before, I don't understand the urgency to eradicate file sharing. Independent artists allow for free downloads of their music and find a dedicated audience in the process. And before the self-righteous RIAA breaks into a song and dance claiming file sharing only hurts the artists, I'd like to ask them how much money artists get from a $.99 download of their music. Most studies estimate a nickel at best. Is that somehow more fair?

The future of file sharing is bright and has no bounds. It's as simple as that.

As the RIAA gains more funding and backing from its goons in Washington, it'll be given the proverbial ticket to go after little Johnny the ten-year old and Aunt Ethel the 80-year old because well, who will stop it? But what the RIAA and government officials don't realize is this plan will backfire.

People naturally gather around the underdog -- the group that stands up to the big bad guy and does so without reservation. AllofMP3 was just a start -- there will be a bunch more where that came from.

If the RIAA and governments from around the world took a step back and realized that the practices it currently employs are only leading to an ever-increasing instance of file sharing, it would quickly change tactics. There's a war on drugs and poverty. If you go downtown in almost any city in the world and hang out on a corner, I guarantee you will see both in a matter of minutes. Does that mean we should turn a blind eye? Of course not. But what it does mean is a so-called "war" on an issue in society doesn't work as well as planned and it certainly won't work against something that people feel is fine.

Ask anyone you know if they would rather pay $.99 for a song or have the same exact song for free and I think you know what the answer will be. Does that make them bad people? Not at all. Does that make them dislike the artist any less? Of course not. Will it make them go to a concert the next time that band is in town? You better believe it. The RIAA and governments are fighting the wrong enemy. It's not John and Jane Doe downloading the occasional song here and there who should be targeted, it's the music industry.

If you want to look at a business that is actually robbing artists of a living, look no further than the big record labels. As I mentioned earlier, artists barely make anything off of an iTunes download, while the record label laughs all the way to the bank. And yet, some people actually believe the propaganda when the RIAA comes out and claims we are taking money away from the artists who threw their blood, sweat and tears into a song. The record industry is upset because IT doesn't walk away with the money. Trust me, there's no other reason.

The future of file sharing is bright. And whether the record industry and government officials want to believe it or not, the tactics currently being employed will only make it worse. Believe what you will, but the RIAA is in for a rude awakening.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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