The Limewire Strikes Back

by on September 26, 2006 · 40 comments

Techdirt notes that peer-to-peer network Limewire is returning fire in its battle with the RIAA:

Last month, the RIAA sued Limewire after Limewire wouldn’t agree to simply roll over and pretend the RIAA’s interpretation of the Supreme Court decision in the Grokster case was actually what the Supreme Court said. The court actually said that services could be found liable, if they were shown to actively induce infringement. The RIAA and the MPAA pretended this meant that any file sharing network that had unauthorized content was flat-out illegal. Of course, that’s a bit of a stretch. So, it already seemed like it would be an interesting case, but now Limewire has hit back even harder with counterclaims accusing the RIAA of antitrust violations, consumer fraud and other misconduct. Specifically, they seem to be making the case that the RIAA only wants to shut down Limewire because it is a competitive distribution mechanism that they cannot control, which helps compete with their monopolistic control on traditional distribution. It’s an interesting claim that does make some sense, though the RIAA will simply try to paint Limewire as a tool for “thieves.” As with many of these types of cases, there’s probably a decent chance that the sides will settle before any decision is made, but in this case, it would be very interesting to see the actual outcome of any lawsuit–both on the issue of whether or not simply running a file sharing network is inducement and on whether or not there really is an antitrust claim here. If the case does go forward and the RIAA loses on the antitrust issue, it could have a big impact on the traditional labels, and could actually be a catalyst towards forcing them to accept the changing nature of the market. This is becoming a case well worth watching.

Limewire’s point about the Grokster is an important one. The Supreme Court did not rule that peer-to-peer file sharing is illegal per se. What they said was that there was ample evidence (from advertisements, internal company emails, etc) that Grokster intended to make a business of copyright infringement, and so the courts didn’t have to reach the question of whether running a peer-to-peer network, as such, constitutes secondary copyright infringement. Frankly, I think Limewire probably still deserves to lose, but they should at least have the opportunity to persuade the judge that unlike Grokster they legitimately expect to make money through more legitimate channels.

I don’t find the antitrust angle very compelling. There are lots of alternative music distribution services that aren’t being sued. eMusic and MySpace come to mind. Those services have been making a good-faith effort not to facilitate piracy, and as a result the RIAA has left them alone. If Limewire is guilty of secondary copyright infringement, then it certainly shouldn’t trigger antitrust scrutiny for the RIAA to enforce its members’ rights under the law.

  • Doug Lay

    I think LimeWire would probably fall somewhere between Grokster and YouTube on the “inducement” spectrum. I’m not sure if they deserve to lose, because I have no idea what the Supreme Court meant by “inducement.” Hopefully this case will provide some clarity.

    Regarding the whole anti-trust angle, I think LimeWire may have a stronger point that you think, although I’m not sure “anti-trust” is the right term to use. The RIAA isn’t simply refusing to do business with LimeWire, the way the major labels have refused to do business with eMusic. If eMusic were to sue the majors under anti-trust law, I would be skeptical. Here, however, we have the RIAA members directly using the law to put a company out of business, because that company will not use a technology dictated by the RIAA. In the RIAA’s press release announcing a suit against LimeWire, they specifically complain about LimweWire’s “lack of interest in adoping a legitimate business model.” That is fundamentally different from complaining about LimeWire’s own “bad” business model. Essentially, the RIAA is claiming that if you want to provide a platform for decentralized distribution of music on the Internet, you MUST incorporate a proprietary technology dictated by the RIAA. Don’t you find that somewhat chilling?

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Essentially, the RIAA is claiming that if you want to provide a platform for decentralized distribution of music on the Internet, you MUST incorporate a proprietary technology dictated by the RIAA. Don’t you find that somewhat chilling?

    MySpace and eMusic are music distribution networks that don’t incorporate the RIAA’s preferred technology. They aren’t “decentralized” in the sense that Limewire is, but I’m not sure that makes that incomparable. Perhaps an even better example is BitTorrent–the RIAA has sued individual trackers and search engines that refer users to a lot of copyrighted content, but they have yet to sue the creators of the BitTorrent technology itself.

    I also think the comparison between BitTorrent and Limewire is instructive for another reason: BitTorrent distribution ends to involve centralized search but decentralized distribution, whereas Limewire (and Grokster) decentralized the search function. It’s not obvious to me that there are any particular advantages to decentralizing the search function, aside from the desire to evade legal liability for infringement by users. I don’t think it’s surprising or problematic that the RIAA has sued every company whose product appears to be deliberately designed to make policing infringement more difficult.

  • Anonymous

    > It’s not obvious to me that there are any particular advantages to decentralizing the search function, aside from the desire to evade legal liability for infringement by users.

    What about robustness in the face of government censorship, or DOS attacks?

  • Doug Lay

    I think LimeWire would probably fall somewhere between Grokster and YouTube on the “inducement” spectrum. I’m not sure if they deserve to lose, because I have no idea what the Supreme Court meant by “inducement.” Hopefully this case will provide some clarity.

    Regarding the whole anti-trust angle, I think LimeWire may have a stronger point that you think, although I’m not sure “anti-trust” is the right term to use. The RIAA isn’t simply refusing to do business with LimeWire, the way the major labels have refused to do business with eMusic. If eMusic were to sue the majors under anti-trust law, I would be skeptical. Here, however, we have the RIAA members directly using the law to put a company out of business, because that company will not use a technology dictated by the RIAA. In the RIAA’s press release announcing a suit against LimeWire, they specifically complain about LimweWire’s “lack of interest in adoping a legitimate business model.” That is fundamentally different from complaining about LimeWire’s own “bad” business model. Essentially, the RIAA is claiming that if you want to provide a platform for decentralized distribution of music on the Internet, you MUST incorporate a proprietary technology dictated by the RIAA. Don’t you find that somewhat chilling?

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Those are certainly advantages. You can get those same advantages via other means, though–you can move your server offshore to evade government controls, and you can physically decentralize your infrastructure, as Google does, to deal with DOS attacks.

    So I’m not going to claim that there are no arguments for Limewire-style decentralization, but I think it’s clear that by far the most important reason they designed it the way they did was to avoid lawsuits, not censorship or DOS attacks.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Essentially, the RIAA is claiming that if you want to provide a platform for decentralized distribution of music on the Internet, you MUST incorporate a proprietary technology dictated by the RIAA. Don’t you find that somewhat chilling?

    MySpace and eMusic are music distribution networks that don’t incorporate the RIAA’s preferred technology. They aren’t “decentralized” in the sense that Limewire is, but I’m not sure that makes that incomparable. Perhaps an even better example is BitTorrent–the RIAA has sued individual trackers and search engines that refer users to a lot of copyrighted content, but they have yet to sue the creators of the BitTorrent technology itself.

    I also think the comparison between BitTorrent and Limewire is instructive for another reason: BitTorrent distribution ends to involve centralized search but decentralized distribution, whereas Limewire (and Grokster) decentralized the search function. It’s not obvious to me that there are any particular advantages to decentralizing the search function, aside from the desire to evade legal liability for infringement by users. I don’t think it’s surprising or problematic that the RIAA has sued every company whose product appears to be deliberately designed to make policing infringement more difficult.

  • Anonymous

    > It’s not obvious to me that there are any particular advantages to decentralizing the search function, aside from the desire to evade legal liability for infringement by users.

    What about robustness in the face of government censorship, or DOS attacks?

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Those are certainly advantages. You can get those same advantages via other means, though–you can move your server offshore to evade government controls, and you can physically decentralize your infrastructure, as Google does, to deal with DOS attacks.

    So I’m not going to claim that there are no arguments for Limewire-style decentralization, but I think it’s clear that by far the most important reason they designed it the way they did was to avoid lawsuits, not censorship or DOS attacks.

  • Doug Lay

    >> you can physically decentralize your infrastructure, as Google does

    How is that fundamentally different, on a technical level, from what LimeWire does? Is it because LimeWire doesn’t centrally manage the search nodes? Is that to be a requirement for “legitimate” search?

    I appreciate that LimeWire LLC’s motives may be somewhat unsavory. But the precedents that the RIAA is trying to set can – and, I believe, will – be used against folks like the BitTorrent developers if they go unchallenged in this case.

    Cabals of content owners should not be able to dictate what distribution architectures are allowed to exist on the Internet. Period.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    More relevantly to the google example, why should the RIAA get to dictate an expensive, high-hardware cost business model when a low-cost business model is available?

    Does anyone have a decent description of how LimeWire works? I’m curious (with regards to the infringement question) and have never used it.

    It’ll be very interesting when, say, Facebook incorporates IM and allows you to search/share files within your network of friends- that is probably the most legitimate argument for a distributed search/share function I can think of.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Guys,

    Although the Supreme Court dodged the issue of applying Sony, ultimately, I think LimeWire is ultimately going to come down to some variant on the Sony standard: does your technology/business model have a substantial non-infringing use. So my question is, what’s Limewire’s substantial non-infringing use?

    Doug, in essence, was suggesting that Limewire’s substantial non-infringing use is that it offers a “platform for decentralized distribution of music on the Internet”–that is, that although right now Limewire is mostly used for infringement, that once it matures it will be a platform for distributing a lot of legitimate content.

    I don’t buy it. BitTorrent gives you 90 percent of the bandwidth savings (by decentralizing the actual distribution of content) while making it much easier to enforce copyright law. That, coupled with the rampant infringement that actually happens on such networks (which needs to be proved on a case by case basis, obviously) is, I think, probably sufficient grounds to find that the technology lacks a significant non-infringing use.

    Does that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside? Certainly not. But I don’t think it would be consistent with the spirit of Sony to find in Limewire’s favor. The heart of Sony is the court’s observation that copyright law must “strike a balance between a copyright holder’s legitimate demand for effective — not merely symbolic — protection of the statutory monopoly, and the rights of others freely to engage in substantially unrelated areas of commerce.” It seems to me that widespread, legally sanctioned availability of programs like Limewire would render the copyright monopoly merely symbolic.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Dodged the Sony standard in Grokster, I meant to say…

  • Doug Lay

    >> It seems to me that widespread, legally sanctioned availability of programs like Limewire would render the copyright monopoly merely symbolic.

    Substitute “DeCSS” for “LimeWire” and you would be paraphrasing Solveig Singleton.

    It’s pretty clear that the personal computer and TCP/IP have moved things in the direction of making the copyright monopoly merely symbolic far more than any single program – be it LimeWire, DeCSS or whatever. Give any ground as far as acknowledging that copyright holders should have a veto over ANY technical architectures, and you’re on a slippery slope toward banning the open Internet and the general-purpose PC.

    Also, in your latest comment you’re stating that LimeWire probably WILL lose, while earlier on you state that LimeWire probably DESERVES to lose. I realize you’re looking at the issue from slightly different angles in both places, but some clarity would be helpful. Also, have you read the whole countersuit? I confess I’m just starting to read it now.

  • Doug Lay

    >> you can physically decentralize your infrastructure, as Google does

    How is that fundamentally different, on a technical level, from what LimeWire does? Is it because LimeWire doesn’t centrally manage the search nodes? Is that to be a requirement for “legitimate” search?

    I appreciate that LimeWire LLC’s motives may be somewhat unsavory. But the precedents that the RIAA is trying to set can – and, I believe, will – be used against folks like the BitTorrent developers if they go unchallenged in this case.

    Cabals of content owners should not be able to dictate what distribution architectures are allowed to exist on the Internet. Period.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    More relevantly to the google example, why should the RIAA get to dictate an expensive, high-hardware cost business model when a low-cost business model is available?

    Does anyone have a decent description of how LimeWire works? I’m curious (with regards to the infringement question) and have never used it.

    It’ll be very interesting when, say, Facebook incorporates IM and allows you to search/share files within your network of friends- that is probably the most legitimate argument for a distributed search/share function I can think of.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Guys,

    Although the Supreme Court dodged the issue of applying Sony, ultimately, I think LimeWire is ultimately going to come down to some variant on the Sony standard: does your technology/business model have a substantial non-infringing use. So my question is, what’s Limewire’s substantial non-infringing use?

    Doug, in essence, was suggesting that Limewire’s substantial non-infringing use is that it offers a “platform for decentralized distribution of music on the Internet”–that is, that although right now Limewire is mostly used for infringement, that once it matures it will be a platform for distributing a lot of legitimate content.

    I don’t buy it. BitTorrent gives you 90 percent of the bandwidth savings (by decentralizing the actual distribution of content) while making it much easier to enforce copyright law. That, coupled with the rampant infringement that actually happens on such networks (which needs to be proved on a case by case basis, obviously) is, I think, probably sufficient grounds to find that the technology lacks a significant non-infringing use.

    Does that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside? Certainly not. But I don’t think it would be consistent with the spirit of Sony to find in Limewire’s favor. The heart of Sony is the court’s observation that copyright law must “strike a balance between a copyright holder’s legitimate demand for effective — not merely symbolic — protection of the statutory monopoly, and the rights of others freely to engage in substantially unrelated areas of commerce.” It seems to me that widespread, legally sanctioned availability of programs like Limewire would render the copyright monopoly merely symbolic.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Dodged the Sony standard in Grokster, I meant to say…

  • Chris Brand

    There are lots of alternative music distribution services that aren’t being sued. eMusic and MySpace come to mind.

    So when Grokster was sued, we could have argued “but they haven’t sued Limewire”. You can use that argument until the RIAA are suing their last competitor, which is probably too late.

  • Doug Lay

    >> It seems to me that widespread, legally sanctioned availability of programs like Limewire would render the copyright monopoly merely symbolic.

    Substitute “DeCSS” for “LimeWire” and you would be paraphrasing Solveig Singleton.

    It’s pretty clear that the personal computer and TCP/IP have moved things in the direction of making the copyright monopoly merely symbolic far more than any single program – be it LimeWire, DeCSS or whatever. Give any ground as far as acknowledging that copyright holders should have a veto over ANY technical architectures, and you’re on a slippery slope toward banning the open Internet and the general-purpose PC.

    Also, in your latest comment you’re stating that LimeWire probably WILL lose, while earlier on you state that LimeWire probably DESERVES to lose. I realize you’re looking at the issue from slightly different angles in both places, but some clarity would be helpful. Also, have you read the whole countersuit? I confess I’m just starting to read it now.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Doug,

    The difference is that Solveig is wrong. ;-)

    In all seriousness, the difference between CSS-descrambling utilities and Limewire is that CSS-descrambling utilities actually do have substantial non-infringing uses, such as playing your DVDs on non-approved devices or sampling movies to exercize fair use rights. It’s far closer to being a “staple article of commerce” in the Sony sense than Limewire.

    What I meant is that I think that Limewire ought to lose under current law, as it’s been interpreted by the Supreme Court. I wouldn’t be too upset if Congress stepped in and overruled Sony in a way that protected Limewire from liability, but I think they should lose under current law and precedent.

    Chris, MySpace, BitTorrent, and eMusic pass the Sony and Grokster tests with flying colors, and I think the RIAA knows it.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Doug, one other point I forgot to mention: DeCSS’s potential for promoting piracy is also much less, because distributing a DVD to a hundred people using DeCSS is much more cumbersome than performing the same process with LimeWire. This is, in fact, and argument that you make all the time when you’re arguing against the DMCA.

  • Chris Brand

    There are lots of alternative music distribution services that aren’t being sued. eMusic and MySpace come to mind.

    So when Grokster was sued, we could have argued “but they haven’t sued Limewire”. You can use that argument until the RIAA are suing their last competitor, which is probably too late.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Doug,

    The difference is that Solveig is wrong. ;-)

    In all seriousness, the difference between CSS-descrambling utilities and Limewire is that CSS-descrambling utilities actually do have substantial non-infringing uses, such as playing your DVDs on non-approved devices or sampling movies to exercize fair use rights. It’s far closer to being a “staple article of commerce” in the Sony sense than Limewire.

    What I meant is that I think that Limewire ought to lose under current law, as it’s been interpreted by the Supreme Court. I wouldn’t be too upset if Congress stepped in and overruled Sony in a way that protected Limewire from liability, but I think they should lose under current law and precedent.

    Chris, MySpace, BitTorrent, and eMusic pass the Sony and Grokster tests with flying colors, and I think the RIAA knows it.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Doug, one other point I forgot to mention: DeCSS’s potential for promoting piracy is also much less, because distributing a DVD to a hundred people using DeCSS is much more cumbersome than performing the same process with LimeWire. This is, in fact, and argument that you make all the time when you’re arguing against the DMCA.

  • Doug Lay

    Tim:

    With all due respect, I don’t think any of us has any idea what will and will not pass the Grokster test. The decision is clear as mud and there have been no followup decision by lower courts to date.

    Certainly, I wouldn’t presume that Limewire will be found on the wrong side while BitTorrent will be found on the right side. Both of them are used to commit an enormous amount of piracy, and there are plenty who will argue that everything “legitimate” that BitTorrent does could be done equally well by a system that is more naturally amenable to copyright protection.

    If LimeWire should go down (which does seem likely), I hope it will because of their business model, not their technology.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim

    Doug, I don’t think we disagree all that much. No, Grokster wasn’t the Court’s clearest decisions. And in case I wasn’t clear earlier, I certainly don’t think that the mere fact that Limewire uses “peer to peer technology,” however you define that, should lose them the case. The courts ought to look at what they do with the technology, not how it works.

    Indeed, I think this is precisely why BitTorrent is (or at least ought to be) on much firmer legal ground: they’ve been very careful to keep BitTorrent, the technology, separate from BitTorrent, the business. The parts that BitTorrent, the business, directly controls (and profits from) are almost entirely non-infringing uses. The technology is used for infringing uses by other people, but BitTorrent’s creators aren’t profiting from that, and the RIAA is more likely to sue those people directly.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/ enigma_foundry

    Although the Supreme Court dodged the issue of applying Sony, ultimately, I think LimeWire is ultimately going to come down to some variant on the Sony standard: does your technology/business model have a substantial non-infringing use. So my question is, what’s Limewire’s substantial non-infringing use?

    I regulaly use BitTorrent to distribute linux distros which I like, effectively donating my spare bandwidth to them, since they don’t have to use their bandwidth. Obviously the monopolists would like to stop this by disingeniously claiming that the ‘only’ use of such a network is to infringe.

    I used to use another program (gnutella) to do the same thing,, and it connected to limewire clients as well. Suse no longer seems to include gnutella, and when they did you had to click through a warning box, telling you not to use it to distribute copyrighted content unless you had the copyright holders permission. Suse really made every effort to abide by copyright laws, and never encouraged anyone to infringe.

    Of course, I also used it to distribute DeCSS. I consider it my moral duty to engage in civil disobedience in the face of such an unjust law as the DMCA.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Limewire and Bittorrent are pretty fundamentally different; Limewire is a service and a protocol, while Bittorrent is just a protocol. (Unless I’m missing something.)

  • Doug Lay

    Tim:

    With all due respect, I don’t think any of us has any idea what will and will not pass the Grokster test. The decision is clear as mud and there have been no followup decision by lower courts to date.

    Certainly, I wouldn’t presume that Limewire will be found on the wrong side while BitTorrent will be found on the right side. Both of them are used to commit an enormous amount of piracy, and there are plenty who will argue that everything “legitimate” that BitTorrent does could be done equally well by a system that is more naturally amenable to copyright protection.

    If LimeWire should go down (which does seem likely), I hope it will because of their business model, not their technology.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim

    Doug, I don’t think we disagree all that much. No, Grokster wasn’t the Court’s clearest decisions. And in case I wasn’t clear earlier, I certainly don’t think that the mere fact that Limewire uses “peer to peer technology,” however you define that, should lose them the case. The courts ought to look at what they do with the technology, not how it works.

    Indeed, I think this is precisely why BitTorrent is (or at least ought to be) on much firmer legal ground: they’ve been very careful to keep BitTorrent, the technology, separate from BitTorrent, the business. The parts that BitTorrent, the business, directly controls (and profits from) are almost entirely non-infringing uses. The technology is used for infringing uses by other people, but BitTorrent’s creators aren’t profiting from that, and the RIAA is more likely to sue those people directly.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    Although the Supreme Court dodged the issue of applying Sony, ultimately, I think LimeWire is ultimately going to come down to some variant on the Sony standard: does your technology/business model have a substantial non-infringing use. So my question is, what’s Limewire’s substantial non-infringing use?

    I regulaly use BitTorrent to distribute linux distros which I like, effectively donating my spare bandwidth to them, since they don’t have to use their bandwidth. Obviously the monopolists would like to stop this by disingeniously claiming that the ‘only’ use of such a network is to infringe.

    I used to use another program (gnutella) to do the same thing,, and it connected to limewire clients as well. Suse no longer seems to include gnutella, and when they did you had to click through a warning box, telling you not to use it to distribute copyrighted content unless you had the copyright holders permission. Suse really made every effort to abide by copyright laws, and never encouraged anyone to infringe.

    Of course, I also used it to distribute DeCSS. I consider it my moral duty to engage in civil disobedience in the face of such an unjust law as the DMCA.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Limewire and Bittorrent are pretty fundamentally different; Limewire is a service and a protocol, while Bittorrent is just a protocol. (Unless I’m missing something.)

  • Doug Lay

    Limewire and Bittorrent are both companies.

    Bittorrent is a protocol; Limewire uses the gnutella protocol.

    Limewire the company provides a piece of client software that implements their protocol; Bittorrent the company does not – you can choose from a number of clients.

    Bittorrent the company provides a server-based service (search). I am not sure if Limewire does this – in their basic software I am pretty sure they do not. BTW, I did a search on bittorrent.com for “King Kong” and saw what appear to be two rips of the whole film, right on the first page.

    Tim:

    Where your argument makes me very nervous is the claim that distributed search has no substantial non-infringing uses. This is inaccurate, I believe, and I think I’ve pointed out some “good” reasons for using distributed search. Perhaps Limewire’s use of distributed search, taken in conjunction with their business model, could weigh against them, but the use of distributed search should not by itself be a black mark against a piece of software.

  • Doug Lay

    Limewire and Bittorrent are both companies.

    Bittorrent is a protocol; Limewire uses the gnutella protocol.

    Limewire the company provides a piece of client software that implements their protocol; Bittorrent the company does not – you can choose from a number of clients.

    Bittorrent the company provides a server-based service (search). I am not sure if Limewire does this – in their basic software I am pretty sure they do not. BTW, I did a search on bittorrent.com for “King Kong” and saw what appear to be two rips of the whole film, right on the first page.

    Tim:

    Where your argument makes me very nervous is the claim that distributed search has no substantial non-infringing uses. This is inaccurate, I believe, and I think I’ve pointed out some “good” reasons for using distributed search. Perhaps Limewire’s use of distributed search, taken in conjunction with their business model, could weigh against them, but the use of distributed search should not by itself be a black mark against a piece of software.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim

    Doug, I’ll buy that. What makes me uncomfortable is the claim that distributed search is such a breakthrough technology that the mere fact that Limewire offers it ought to be counted in its favor. From where I sit, it appears to me that the companies that have employed it thus far have done so primarily to evade copyright law. However, technological change being as it is, I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that some company in the future might build a product that employs distributed search and focuses on non-infringing uses. The courts should certainly look at products on a case-by-case basis, rather than trying to come up with general rules about classes of technology being good or bad.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim

    Doug, I’ll buy that. What makes me uncomfortable is the claim that distributed search is such a breakthrough technology that the mere fact that Limewire offers it ought to be counted in its favor. From where I sit, it appears to me that the companies that have employed it thus far have done so primarily to evade copyright law. However, technological change being as it is, I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that some company in the future might build a product that employs distributed search and focuses on non-infringing uses. The courts should certainly look at products on a case-by-case basis, rather than trying to come up with general rules about classes of technology being good or bad.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/ enigma_foundry

    Limewire and Bittorrent are pretty fundamentally different; Limewire is a service and a protocol, while Bittorrent is just a protocol. (Unless I’m missing something.)

    I understand that. The point I was making is that I used to use gtk-gnutella to distribute several linux distro’s over the internet, but I have migrated to bit-torrent. This is due to my Linux distro of choice no longer providing pre-built packages for my architecture (x86_64)

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/ enigma_foundry

    Doug, I’ll buy that. What makes me uncomfortable is the claim that distributed search is such a breakthrough technology that the mere fact that Limewire offers it ought to be counted in its favor.

    It just has to have a substanial non-infringing use. It does not have to be a break through product.

    From where I sit, it appears to me that the companies that have employed it thus far have done so primarily to evade copyright law.

    Well, I would put it another way: they are doing it to comply with court decisions. Those decisions were conceptually flawed in that they discarded with ideas such as: right of association, privacy, rights of the accussed, requiring a search warrent.

    So those contradictions between flawed decisions and our freedoms bubble up as technical work arounds. Either those in power will change or freedoms, or stop trying to oppress people, or the legal landscape will get extremely byzantine. (I am predicting the latter)

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    Limewire and Bittorrent are pretty fundamentally different; Limewire is a service and a protocol, while Bittorrent is just a protocol. (Unless I’m missing something.)

    I understand that. The point I was making is that I used to use gtk-gnutella to distribute several linux distro’s over the internet, but I have migrated to bit-torrent. This is due to my Linux distro of choice no longer providing pre-built packages for my architecture (x86_64)

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    Doug, I’ll buy that. What makes me uncomfortable is the claim that distributed search is such a breakthrough technology that the mere fact that Limewire offers it ought to be counted in its favor.

    It just has to have a substanial non-infringing use. It does not have to be a break through product.

    From where I sit, it appears to me that the companies that have employed it thus far have done so primarily to evade copyright law.

    Well, I would put it another way: they are doing it to comply with court decisions. Those decisions were conceptually flawed in that they discarded with ideas such as: right of association, privacy, rights of the accussed, requiring a search warrent.

    So those contradictions between flawed decisions and our freedoms bubble up as technical work arounds. Either those in power will change or freedoms, or stop trying to oppress people, or the legal landscape will get extremely byzantine. (I am predicting the latter)

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