Blame the protocol

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), the recently remarried widow of recording artist Sonny Bono, is understandably concerned with issues of music piracy and copyright protection. She is co-chairwoman of the House IP Promotion and Piracy Prevention Caucus and sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. So she was a natural choice to deliver a keynote address to the State of the Net conference in Washington recently, hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee.

Mack painted a grim picture of a crime wave that she said is 'undermining America's economy.'

Software piracy costs the United States $7 billion annually, movie piracy costs the film industry $6 billion and 141,000 jobs a year, and music piracy costs that industry $12.5 billion and more than 71,000 jobs a year.

The figures, and just how badly the music industry is being devastated, are debatable, but most would agree that there is a lot of illegal downloading, disk-burning and ripping going on.

Mack said the culprit is peer-to-peer networking. She said bandwidth hogs monopolizing network capacity with illegal content are degrading the performance of more legitimate Internet services.

If network operators only were free to throttle evil peer-to-peer traffic, she suggested, then the RIAA would be saved, e-mail again would flow freely across the Internet, and your inbox would once more be filling with offers of cheap 'Rolexes' and Nigerian money.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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