Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Wired News just ran an article by Xeni exposing a draft letter circulated by Bill Lockyer, California attorney general slamming P2P. The metadata on the Word document shows that it has been edited/reviewed by the Motion Picture Association of America. Another example of Hollywood using the US government to push its agenda to blame and limit technology which it views as a threat.

It is me, or is this pretty "smoking gun"?


Facing clear evidence of peril, the MPAA cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom DivX file.

I think the important point is not that the MPAA reviewed the document, but rather "who else should have". It would be perfectly reasonable for the MPAA to be a reviewer on a piece of legislation if, for example, the EFF was also.

Interesting the analogy to cars. It's true -- the argument for warnings on everything is no good.

But consider the analogy on other fronts -- in order to drive cars, we have to be licenced, numbered, and subjected to police surveillance and searches for 'probable cause'... Why? Because we want the system to work without harming people. We don't want everyone out there drunk and killing people.

We should not be so quick to dismiss the possible benefits of regulation of the internet either. If no-holds-barred anonymity and free use of p2p means that I'm going to be watching french movies for the rest of my life, I don't necessarily want it.

If it means that many legitimate companies attempting to do good work and make money are always screwed because there's no accountability on the net, that really prevents a lot of good from being done.

Again, in this case, the attorney general is whacked, but in general, there has to be more regulation of this sort of thing somehow.

The article essentially says that the makers of P2P software should be held responsible for not warning the users that what they are doing is illegal. (I guess the allegation is that by using the word 'share' instead of 'pirate', they somehow fool the users.)

I guess it's possible that children might do this (I believe Joi found a movie script by a famous screenwriter through P2P, when his child had installed some kind of software and shared everything on the hard drive) but I can't imagine anyone else not knowing.

If warnings were added, I imagine it might make it easier for the MPAA or the RIAA to sue, as it would be more difficult to claim ignorance.

Given the fact that P2P software is being used to facilitate crime (whether morally OK or not) on a large scale, it doesn't surprise me that the attorney general is involved. The fact that the attorney general appeared to ask someone in the MPAA to sign off on it, however, is highly dodgy.

Actually it is the other way round: Someone from the Attorney office sign off the document authored by MPAA! Makes you wonder if you should go back to previous documents they send out and take a second look...

Someone head will roll for this.

ps: I find it plausible that people are willing to support regulation of the Internet *if* they support their view of the world. I love to see their face when the table turns around.

French movies? You should be so lucky :-) Much of what Hollywood produces is utter crap anyway (just as much as in the case of France).

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Blake at the excellent American Footprint has a quote engine. Not sure what it's about, but it looks cool. He also has two good posts on Walmart/HR Block and photo-op hunting by the Department of Homeland Security. Meanwhile, Joi Ito... Read More

TITLE: California attorney general preparing to slam P2P URL: IP: BLOG NAME: Zinoblog DATE: 03/16/2004 12:54:29 PM Read More

ghost writing the CA Attorney General's policies from The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
March 16, 2004 1:41 PM

In the latest example of Word not keeping its secrets, Joi reports that the California Attorney General is circulating a draft letter condeming p2p sharing -- a letter authored by the MPAA. Read More

California attorney general preparing to slam P2P from The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
March 16, 2004 1:44 PM

Wired News just ran an article by Xeni exposing a draft letter circulated by Bill Lockyer, California attorney general slamming P2P . Read More