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TK's MORNING BUZZ: With Online Connections Getting Faster, Hollywood Fears of Unlicensed Movie Downloading May Yet Be Realized

5 Sep, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I read with interest yesterday's report from the Reuters news service thatwhile Napster may have gone down in flames, a variety of other online music file-swapping services are thriving -- including a new breed of free-for-alls,like Kazaa and Morpheus, that offer more than just music, including video.

Unlike Napster, Reuters says, these services are decentralized, which makesthem a lot harder to monitor, much less shut down.

The recent multi-studio action against Aimster was a shrewd pre-emptive strike, but Hollywood fears of unlicensed movie downloading hitting the movie industry as hard as unlicensed music downloading hit the music industry may yet be realized.

Simply put, advances in technology are running far ahead of advances in enforcement, and as long as there is an audience out there willing to takecopyrighted material -- someone else's hard work -- for their enjoyment, withoutpaying for it, these services will thrive.

Blame it on the economy, blame it on a moral decay in society, blame it on whatever -- it's getting tougher and tougher to control copyrighted material,and I really don't see a solution in sight.

It would be one thing if the public wouldn't settle for anything less than top-notch quality. But if they're getting it for free, gobs of people don't care what it sounds like or looks like.

As long as it's a reasonable facsimile of the original, and it's free, people just don't give a damn.

Granted, relatively few people share full-length feature films over theInternet. Mostly people simply don't have the computer set-up to allow for afast, easy transfer.

But that's not to say no one does. Morever, as technology continues to advance, as our computers get mightier and our online connections, faster, you can bet your bottom dollar that the number of people engaged in thisillicit sharing of movies will soar -- regardless of legislation or legalintimidation.

I honestly don't know what the solution is, and the truth is, I don't thinkanyone does. All we can do is keep packaged media as exciting, as appealing, as possible and hope for the best.

If anyone has a different perspective, I'd love to hear from you. Selectedresponses may be published in this space on a later date, so please tell me who you are and what you do!

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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