I got a frantic series of calls during a meeting (a day of meetings but that’s a sadder story) on my cell. Finally I went out in the hall to at least listen to the voice mail. A producer from WLFL WB 22 (got all that) wanted an expert on p2p, copyright, and file trading. I am listed on the UNC experts pages as knowing about technology and copyright. Since I did put together the panel (and part of the audience/attendees) for the UNC Symposium on Intellectual Property, Creativity and the Innovation Process last week and I paid attention to what the folks were saying, I guess I am.
The story they want to do is about Grokster being shutdown. Okay. But “Have you heard of this other thing out there that’s even worse? BitTorrent?” Err. It’s not worse, only worse if you wanted to be anonymous. It uses a tracker that remembers who had been trading. And we use it for legal downloads at torrent.ibiblio.org. “I guess you are an expert. Ric Swiner will come by at 11:30 tomorrow and we’ll talk with you.”
I do a lot of this but if you have suggestions and advice, do sent it my way.

One Response to “Jones on WLFL WB 22 on p2p”
  1. nickd says:

    If they ask you about BitTorrent, emphasize that it’s simply a protocol, a relatively neutral (in terms of having a centralized monolithic company) means of exchanging data. Compare it to WWW, FTP, email, AIM as another method of sending data on the Internet. Say that there are countless legal uses of BitTorrent (Linux ISOs, other open source, ibiblio, etc), possibly even outnumbering the illegal.

    Stressing the fundamental legality of BT, as well as the fiercely application-agnostic Bram Cohen creating and running it, should hopefully highlight the division between “sharing files” and “file-sharing” that most laypersons have not yet figured out. If you offer responses like that, especially in response to very general questions like “What do you think about BitTorrent?”, hopefully you’ll be able to steer the conversation in a safe direction.

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