As people become more familiar with the different technologies that are available because of the Internet, it is clear that more and more businesses and different forums for sharing files will become available to consumers, including websites like www.zshare.net, www.rapidshare.com, andwww.megaupload.com. Using these tools, people can upload and share pictures, music, videos and many more types of files. Peer to peer file sharing is an amazing way to both create new goods as distribute existing goods. There are many different organizations that are focusing on the legal and technological issues of these peer-to-peer networks. For instance, thePeer-to-Peer Foundation is attempting to increase the availability of peer-to-peer technologies, and “aim[s] to be a pluralist network to document, research, and promote peer to peer alternatives.”
Michel Bauwens is the founder of the Peer-to-Peer Foundation, and he strongly believes in the ability of people to create and innovate without incentives, such as being paid for one’s actions. Bauwens understands that people will be developing new innovations based on a personal interest and not necessarily on money or personal gain. In addition, due to the collapse of the world economy in late 2008, there are those who begin to wonder if the current economic system is the best possible one, and some people think that peer-to-peer sharing, free software movements, and information projects, such as Wikipedia, are the way of the future and a way to create a better and more secure world.
I believe that individuals will continue to create and develop even their creations are not covered by copyright. In fact, I believe that copyright is something that will hinder that ability of peer-to-peer networks to grow and will limit the growth of information that is freely available on the Internet. For example, the legal cases that have been brought against Napster in the past and The Pirate Bay more recently, in addition to others as well, demonstrate the issues relevant to file sharing networks. The ultimate goal of copyright protection should not be to limit the ability of individual users to get access to files or information they need. Copyright should be intended to protect those who have created from being abused by large groups or corporations. Thus, file sharing networks between individuals would grow and the there would be a mass of information available on the Internet in public domain.
4 thoughts on “Sharing On The Internet – by “Glen M””
Glen, I agree with you when you say that “individuals will continue to create and develop even their creations are not covered by copyright”. It’s not the absence of copyright that will stop human beings from using their creativity to innovate. Most of the ingenious works the world has seen were produced in a time when there was no copyright guarantee for their creators. However, I can’t agree with your idea of allowing individual users to access any files they may need. Intellectual property might not be a fundamental value for the progress of science and useful arts (even though the U.S. Constitution says so), but it surely assures creative thinkers that their works will be protected by the rule of law. Allowing indiscriminate use of files on the Internet for non-commercial usage opens a dangerous precedence in copyright law. It’s not only large corporations that offer potential threat for the obstruction of copyright, but also apparently naive people who decide to publish an encyclopedia making enormous use of copyrighted work (Warner Bros. vs. RDR Books). An inventor of an original work must have the exclusive right for a limited time to his/her work, which may be shared on the Internet as long as he/she concurs with that.
Stopping people from illegally downloading Fallout 3 is hardly limiting ‘the ability of individual users to get access to files or information they need.’ While many of these principles are noble, I cannot imagine the gaming industry, for example, being as vibrant and games as sophisticated without large groups or corporations backing them.
Sure, the game industry will certainly not vanish, but free software cannot replace the tremendous capital that corporations can accumulate. And for corporations, money itself is not enough; they require a secure revenue stream that they can build annual budgets around. Freedom is all and well when it comes to information (aka knowledge), but creative works require more than that.
I do not believe that by allowing people free access to certain types of software or files, it would cause industries such as the game industry to be negatively effected, nor will it cause a large harm to the profits that businesses such as Warner Bros earn. However, I believe that it is next to impossible (but I agree not 100% impossible) to keep people from downloading information on the Internet, either legally or illegally. Thus, it would be better if we realize this and allow people to legally have access to information that they should have access to. Once this is done, it will be possible to use resources to protect things that need to be protected by copyright and allowing access to other types of information.
What do you mean by “information they have should have access to” though, or “certain types of software and files?” If you are referring to the types of software and files that are illegal now, then I do I think Eric’s thoughts make sense. Sure, there will always be some piracy of games. However, if downloading these files was suddenly legal, then I think a lot more people would do so, and it would have some effect on the gaming industry. Still, games would still come out, but I would think that they would be released a lot less frequently, and without such high levels of production and refinement, since they wouldn’t be able to invest as much in the average game while knowing that not many people would buy it. The software industry has been able to release a lot of software for free (Linux, Firefox, OpenOffice, etc.) so perhaps it would not be affected as much as the game industry.