Why File-Sharing Piracy Will Never Die
Think online file sharing is dead because the Supreme Court whacked Grokster? You need to talk to James.
James, a 25-year-old music fan and avowed Internet pirate who works as an electrician by day, spoke to TheStreet.com on condition his last name not be used. For him, this week's legal defeat for the peer-to-peer client Grokster has meant few sleepless nights.
"There are so many people working in the shadow Internet," he says. "I don't see the impact."
According to data compiled by BigChampagne, an online media tracking service, roughly 6 million people a month use peer-to-peer software over the Internet in the U.S. The number is conservative because it excludes wireless networks, instant messaging and email, and the increasingly popular protocol known as BitTorrent that splices files from different senders."What everyone forgets is that the Internet was designed to facilitate file transfers. It's completely agnostic," said Joe Fleischer, a BigChampagne co-founder. He says Monday's ruling amounts to a big "who cares" and warns that big media will end up looking foolish trumpeting a courtroom victory when illegal activity soars. To be sure, Monday's Supreme Court's ruling deals a blow to users who want a dedicated application to exchange media content for free. Grokster and other outfits like it stand to be held liable if consumers illegally exchange songs and movies using their technology. For James and his tech-savvy pals, however, the landscape on which they share music and video files is ever-changing. Increasingly, it encompasses territory such as online chat and instant messaging, in which assigning liability to a specific piece of software could be impossible. "The analogy that comes to mind is fingers in a dam," one media consultant says. "They win a court victory, but the peer-to-peers will just find a new way to do it. You can't really win the fight against tech progress."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV