Copyright Protected

Written by azhar.

Hundreds of BitTorrent users have received letters demanding compensation for the alleged uploading and sharing of copyright materials. BitTorrent is one of the big players in the file sharing industry. It is a network which offers free and open source file-sharing application effective for distributing very large software and media files. Other big players include peer-to-peer file sharing systems such as Limewire and Kazaa.

A team consisting of lawyers ‘Davenport Lyons’, anti-piracy tracking company ‘Logistep’ and several games publishers such as Zuxxez/Topware and CodeMasters have been busy distributing letters to those who have uploaded and shared their products. Nonetheless, not many who received the letters are choosing to pay the fines. Some of them are still doubtful about the credibility of the anti-piracy tracking company 'Logistep', while others believe they are completely innocent.

There are several cases which cast doubts over the accuracy of Logistep and its anti-piracy device. One of them is the case of a 67-year-old grandmother who was demanded to pay fines for downloading Colin McRae: Dirt, a popular racing game developed by CodeMasters. Why would an old women be interested in a sports video game? Another example is the case of a man named 'Stuart'. He was also accused of infringing copyright on Colin McRae: Dirt. Stuart vigorously denied all the accusations and insisted his innocence. He has not paid the fines and Davenport Lyons has not taken any action against him. I believe there was no concrete evidence to charge Stuart with copyright infringement.

The gaming industry is not the first to take such stern action against file-sharing users. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been under the limelight in the recent years for outrageously claiming copyright infringement fines ranging from $750 to a whooping $30,000 per song uploaded. A very popular instance which involves a fine by RIAA was the case of Jammie Thomas, a women charged with a $222,000 fine for infringing the copyrights of 24 songs using the Kazaa file-sharing network. Thomas appealed and argued that the $222,000 penalty was excessive as the music labels only made 70 cents per song, but the 12-person jury still approved the exorbitant penalty.

In my opinion, I believe it is impossible to completely stop the widespread use of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. Millions of people are uploading and sharing songs and games as I am typing right now. I question if an artiste under a record label is really earning a large part of their income through album sales. In fact, I think singers are earning more money with their concert tours and endorsement deals. Perhaps, file-sharing can help spread their work and attract more fans. What do you think?


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