File Swapping is Finished
I had hoped that the US supreme court would have upheld the lower courts' decisions that file swapping services were not liable for any content that passed through their networks, but my hopes were just dashed. The courts decided that file swapping services could be held responsible for the content passing through its servers. This decision will have widespread repercussions.
The first will be search engines, and email companies for whom having the ability to deny knowledge of any content that passes through their servers has been crucial to shielding them from liability, specifically gmail. I am sure any lawyer worth their salt will be able to turn this around to say that Google would be responsible for any files or content moving through their service. The second will be corporate IT departments, and college IT departments, who have always been able to claim ignorance of the songs and movies moving across their networks, now no longer. The RIAA could potentially sue every major university if there are illegal works moving through their networks. The same goes for corporations who allow their users to share their music via iTunes' shared playlists. Anyone familiar with iTunes knows that you can use ourTunes to share music that way. Under this judgement the company would be responsible for this.
I know that this is just a way for the RIAA to get leverage to act against the users of the bigger networks such as gnutella, but at the same time they should be more responsible and think about the big picture, and how decisions like this will be perverted to work against other legitimate businesses, until many businesses will simply stop connecting to the internet, causing losses in worker productivity, and limiting the advertising reach of many ads. In short, this decision is the worst thing to happen to the internet in many years, and I hope that it can be overturned on appeals.