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Don't kill P2P because of a few bad eggs

A News.com reader writes that shutting down P2P networks just to weed out criminal elements would interfere with some good uses of the technology.

In response to the July 9 Perspectives column by Howard L. Berman, "Just desserts for scofflaws:"

Peer-to-peer networks can be used for legal or illegal purposes. So can the telephone, a newspaper or a church's bulletin board. People are responsible for their own actions and there are laws designed to prosecute people for illegal actions.

The legal uses of P2P are rarely heard, because they are not "sexy" or political. P2P allows artists and listeners to connect directly. The proliferation of unique works created and distributed on the Internet is staggering. It is possible that P2P networks could evolve in such a way that the large recording corporations could be out of the music business altogether. The artists could connect with their fans directly and reap the full benefit of their efforts. The corporations are very scared of this scenario--so they lobby individuals to do their bidding.

What happens when the technological procedures used by the copyright holders have destructive side effects? Perhaps one possibility would be to clog up the network to prevent any traffic from getting through. Of course, boring stuff like banking transactions and online securities trades would be affected. But that's OK, because Timmy was prevented from downloading the newest Hoobastank release.

Significant interference with key portions of the Internet can have expensive consequences. As proof, take a good look at the economic losses attributed to the last major Internet virus. Sure we have "remedies" in your bill, but it's a bunch of users versus giant corporations. Once the corporations do a real number and create a couple billion dollars worth of havoc on legitimate computers, what have you accomplished? You have not affected piracy appreciably and many innocent people have been affected.

The Constitution reads "We the People", not "Us Corporations."

James F. Rorie
Matthews, N.C.

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