Wow, check this out. Ed Felten of the “Freedom to Tinker” blog has written a new P2P program called “Tiny P2P” that is made up of just 15 lines of code! And no single line has more than 80 characters. How in the world is the industry gunna stop this one?
Seriously, think about this. Regardless of what you think of the music and movie industry lawsuits against P2P providers, there’s a very good chance they will all succeed. Napster and Aimster were already taken down via contributory liability lawsuits and the Supreme Court is set to hear the Grokster case soon. The Supreme Court will almost certainly reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision and hold Grokster liable for contributory copyright infringement. Again, I’m not making a case one way or the other, I’m just saying that it’s highly likely there will be 5 votes on the Court to hold Grokster liable.
OK, assuming that happens, what’s next? Well, I guess the industry can sue E-Donkey and the handfull of other big P2P players that remain out there, but at some point the market evolves to the point were everyone is just using freeware like Felton’s “Tiny P2P” code. What then? I guess the industry could go after Ed, but what’s the point. The cat is out of the bag and many more imitators will follow. Pretty soon there will just be no one left to sue.
So what’s the industry going to do then? Who knows. In my opinion, they should just stick to suing individuals for direct infringement and concentrate on creating new business reponses to this rapidly evolving marketplace. Because at some point very soon, “The Matrix” that is the World Wide Web will be all around them and P2P will be so ingrained in it that there will be no way to use the law to stop it. Felton’s “Tiny P2P” shows us that this day may be upon us already.