This is a summary of US House bill 1689 that would take a portion of the education funding of the Dept. of Education and spend it on pilot anti-piracy programs.
The claim is that the bandwidth usage, viruses, and loss of revenue by the Corporate Gods is sufficiently damaging that intervention is needed.
Loss of Revenue
This is the heart of the piracy debate. These fools would rather bitch and moan than to change to a more progressive and profitable business model. They sue and whine and it’s just plain silly.
Look at online video games like Half-life and to a larger extent RTCW:ET (which is entirely free). These games encourage community-created modifications some of which give the original games themselves a run for their money in terms of quality and quantity of content.
Look at Second Life, a game world founded on the concept of community interaction.
These are giant successes. Almost four years later the community for Enemy Territory is alive and well. Half-life continues to have mods built, many of which have been brought under the developer (vALVE) and turned to market (Counter-Strike, Garry’s Mod, etc.)
There is a huge market for an open world, and yet because these companies don’t understand it, or don’t see how to monetize every last drop of it, they try to stop it.
The bandwidth used on piracy could be better used on what exactly? Piracy bandwidth amounts to video and audio (that is, multimedia) downloads. That’s the direction that the internet is and should be moving toward anyway. Higher bandwidth applications to deliver higher quality, more accessible multimedia.
The question you have to ask is, if the content being downloaded were licensed, would they still say “we need to conserve bandwidth?” And no, obviously they would not. So that claim is entirely specious and disgusting.
Now this is a broader issue than piracy, but to an extent some amount of pirated material is used as a carrier for malicious software. Is the solution to stop piracy? Obviously not because there are plenty of other opportunities to acquire viruses on the internet.
The truth is that when you use a tool without adequate knowledge and safeguards you run the risk of damaging the tool, and in some cases endangering yourself and others. The majority of copyright violations do not include viruses and those that do are cases where inadequate security (ie, AV software) was used.
The virus issue is really just silly. If they want to stop viruses they will teach the public about them, not about piracy.
On the whole this bill is about as rational as teaching celibacy or intelligent design. That is, not at all. I hope that some more enlightened congressman will propose a bill entitled the ‘Curb Idiotic Proposals of Congressional Creeps Act of 2007’ that will use federal funds to have these people sterilized and removed from office upon submission of legislation that is such a waste of time and money.