- The P2P Threat. Every PC is a potential printing press, mastering facility, and recording studio, all rolled into one. Duplication of copyrighted works can be done cheaply and with high fidelity. P2P Internet creates a low-cost mass distribution channel for these copies. And unlike the original Napster, the decentralized nature of most P2P clients today means they will continue to operate even if P2P software companies are shut down.
- Copynorms. To the vast majority of P2P users, P2P file sharing of copyrighted works is socially acceptable, even encouraged. This directly conflicts with current copyright laws.
- One-sided Legislative Process. Until recently, most copy legislation has been shaped primarily by the content holders. Consumers do not get a chance to sit at the copyright policy table. Not surprisingly, consumers feel these laws are grossly unfair and serve only to maintain the content holders' monopolies and profits. The results of this lopsided process are copyright laws that make no sense:
- The DMCA. What happened to our fair use rights?
- The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. What happened to our public domain works?
- The INDUCE Act. Unlike previous legislation, for the first time, consumers had someone sit at the negotiation table whose interests aligned with theirs. The Consumer Electronic Industry pretty much shut down the proposal, for the time being.
- The International Problem. Being able to enjoin P2P developers in the U.S. will only cause them to move to safe haven countries, or countries where the IP protection is lacking.
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
From the point of view of society the present position is lamentable. Millions of breaches of the law must be committed by home copiers every year. Some home copiers may break the law in ignorance, despite the extensive publicity and warning notices on records, tapes and films. Some home copiers may break the law because they estimate that their chances of detection as non-existent. Some home copiers may consider that the entertainment and recording industry already exhibit all the characteristics of an undesirable monopoly, lavish expenses, extravagant earnings and exorbitant profits and that the blank tape is the only restraint on further increases in the price of records. Whatever the reason for home copying, the beat of Sergeant Pepper and the soaring sounds of Miserere from unlawful copies are more powerful than law abiding instincts or twinges of consicence. A law which is treated with such contempt should be amended or repealed.