- Internet & the Web
One More Example of Backward Justice...
In October 2010 a court-ordered injunction was issued against LimeWire on behalf of several music production companies to halt LimeWire's use. If you are unfamiliar with LimeWire, it is a peer-to-peer file sharing program that allows users to freely distribute files of all types (primarily music). LimeWire itself does not provide storage for any of the distributable content and only provides a method for one person to copy a file from another person's hard drive (based on parameters that the other person sets as to which files can be shared).
The injunction states, among other things, that LimeWire enables, encourages, and assists with the infringement of the copyrighted works of music production companies. Since it IS a tool for P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing, naturally it would "enable" that practice and "assist" it. As for encouraging such usage, LimeWire encourages the use of its program...not the distribution of copyright protected materials. THAT violation is performed by the individual users who choose to make available files that are protected by copyright laws.
If someone uses a gun to kill another person, does the maker of the weapon bear liability for the damage done? (Well, actually in the jacked up justice system in OUR country, probably so!) No, of course not. A gun is just a tool...a means to an end. The person who pulls the trigger is the one who should be the liable party.
As with a firearm, LimeWire does not itself violate any laws. It is nothing more than a means to an end. A tool. An object that performs no function unless directed to do so by the USERS who manipulate the system.
However, as with Napster many years ago, our fine nation's government cannot hold accountable the millions and millions (and millions!) of users who are breaking the law, so they punish those who created the tool to allow those persons to break the law.
When the Napster Fiasco occurred, there were some bands and music producers that claimed they appreciated such services because it got their music out in the public eye and into people's homes, where it might not otherwise have been. Some bands relied wholly on P2P services for early distribution of their music, for FREE, and did not suffer any losses whatsoever on total sales of the hard copies of their work.
Shouldn't the government be worried more about things that really matter, like the lack of health care and basic/essential services to impoverished people (especially children) within America's borders? Educational standards that have dropped so low that people are now graduating from high school without being able to read or write? The critically depressed status of the job market across the country?
I guess not. Punishing a software creator for making something that SOMEONE ELSE has abused certainly seems like a worthwhile waste of federal funding and judicial time. Is anyone really "proud to be an American" anymore? If so, why?