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P2P "SERVICES" UNDER ATTACK, MAYBE

Majors Looking into Suing Lines of Code
Hot on the heels of a lawsuit aimed at shutting down the "21st century piratical bazaar" represented by second-wave swapperies Music City, Kazaa and Grokster, Hilary Rosen is rallying the troops to further put the smack down on peer-to-peer file-swapping, if a memo attributed to the RIAA topper is to be believed.

The 9/25 memo, which surfaced on dotcomscoop, is addressed to executives at Yahoo, Real Networks, AOL, Microsoft and Universal Studios, as well as New Media officers of each of the Big Five label groups. The memo states that the time has come to "get coordinated and aggressive with the new round of peer to peer services," noting that traffic on P2P net Morpheus has risen to 19 million downloads per day. With the launch of "legitimate" label-backed subscription services imminent, the importance of controlling the "overwhelming volume" of the P2P swapperies is critical. "If they are not controlled more effectively and consumers redirected to legitimate offerings, there won’t be new businesses. That’s obvious," the memo says, calling for a meeting to discuss ways to "spoof" and "interdict" P2Ps, mounting a PR campaign and legal strategies.

While the RIAA won’t say whether the memo, which is signed "Hilary," is authentic, it is taking the position that the sense of it, at least, is legit. "We are not confirming whether this email is real. But if anyone thinks that the music community is sitting idly by while these services threaten our industry and our technology partners they are wrong," said an RIAA spokesperson.

The question now is just what can be done about the new wave of P2P services, which really aren’t services at all, since most are decentralized networks of computers running the same client/server software. Sue the software developer? Sue the consumer? The answer won’t come easy, if at all, but the one certainty at this point is that major resources will be devoted to finding one.

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