I’ve been posting on the Binary Revolution Forums a bit lately, mostly in threads with a technical theme. I’m mostly doing it to sort of contribute to a place that’s popular among people just starting out in the field. Today, a link was posted about the recent attacks against MediaDefender, where a large amount of their email and intellectual property has been leaked out.

I gave the situation some thought, and I think I’m going to have to disagree with what seems to be the general consensus among internet users. I wrote up some of my thoughts and posted it, and I liked it enough that I’m adapting it into the blog post for today:

“What’s funny about this is it really exposes a lot of peer-to-peer filesharing advocates’ true position.

The services MediaDefender provide for copyright holders are designed to have a chilling effect on the filesharing of copyrighted content (they also do marketing via P2P, which is legal, and I think a pretty good use of P2P). So we have a company here that recognizes that there are legal and legitimate uses for P2P, and instead of being all “There should be legislation outlawing this”, they do the right thing and provide a technical solution to a technical problem for copyright holders. The fake files and information gathering tactics apply to situations where people are knowingly downloading content for which they have no rights. You’re not going to run into MediaDefender’s mechanisms downloading Linux ISOs and sharing independent music over P2P, like many advocates of P2P technology would have you believe they do.

It’s a neat solution. Gum up the infringing activities of P2P users while letting the protocols and those who don’t abuse them act freely. It’s a useful service for copyright holders. So what is the collective internet P2P geek reaction to them? It can be pretty much summed up as “Screw them, they deserved to get hacked, they are the devil”. Poking around a bit, I can’t really find a positive thing being said about them.

What it boils down is this: most of the people advocating peer-to-peer with the caveat of it being useful for legal content, really just want their copyright infringing uses to be safe under that blanket.”

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