Inadvertent File Sharing Over Peer-to-Peer Networks: How it Endangers Citizens and Jeopardizes National Security, Testimony Before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

The Progress & Freedom Foundation U.S. Congressional Testimony, 2009

13 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2009

Date Written: July 29, 2009

Abstract

Certain distributors of popular file-sharing programs have repeatedly failed to prevent, and may have knowingly caused and perpetuated, inadvertent file-sharing,

Inadvertent sharing cannot be remediated by self-regulation by distributors of file-sharing programs because certain distributors have repeatedly violated every set of self-regulations proposed - including a Code of Conduct and a set of Volutary Best Practices that they drafted.

Three critical defects are present in every released version of the LimeWire 5 file-sharing program: (1) every version is dangerously unpredictable and can share all of a user's personal document, image, video, and audio files just by being installed, (2) every version violates critical provisions of the LimeWire's own Voluntary Best Practices, (3) every version contains a feature that LimeWire itself knew to be a needlessly dangerous of means of ensuring that one reasonable mistake by a child could inadvertently share thousands of a family's most sensitive personal files.

In short, the problem of inadvertent sharing has persisted for nine years because distributors of file-sharing programs like LimeWire LLC have repeatedly responded to even the most serious and well-documented concerns about inadvertent sharing with half-measures, misrepresentations, whitewash, and other conduct that, considered in its entirety, could strongly suggest bad faith - an intent to cause and perpetuate inadvertent sharing. Consequently, the widespread, well-documented breaches of national, military, corporate, and family security caused by inadvertent sharing may be nothing more - or less - than the acceptable 'collateral damage' of schemes intended to trick users into sharing popular music and movies.

Congress should pursue a two-pronged remedial strategy. First, this issue should be formally referred to law-enforcement agencies possessing relevant civil and criminal enforcement authority. And Congress should support efforts to amend H.R. 1319, The Informed P2P User Act, in order to grant the Federal Trade Commission additional targeted enforcement powers.

Keywords: Oversight and Government Reform, Inadvertent File Sharing, Peer to Peer networks, P2P, copyright, patent, copyright infringement, LimeWire, Napster, Kazaa, internet piracy, online privacy, music piracy, LimeWire 5.2.8, H.R. 1319, The Informed P2P User Act, Voluntary Best Practices, Bucci

JEL Classification: D18, D23, L86, L82, O34, O38,K42,K11,H56

Suggested Citation

Sydnor, Thomas D., Inadvertent File Sharing Over Peer-to-Peer Networks: How it Endangers Citizens and Jeopardizes National Security, Testimony Before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (July 29, 2009). The Progress & Freedom Foundation U.S. Congressional Testimony, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1443289 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443289

Thomas D. Sydnor (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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