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Danish P2P Users get Billed

According to this story, the Danish anti-piracy organisation has been monitoring users of file sharing networks and has begun sending bills of up to $14,000 to Danish users who have allegedly been downloading copyright material.

It seems particularly worrying that Denmark is taking a global lead in monitoring and punishing internet users on the rather weak evidence of file names being downloaded. It also fails to take into account whether the user already has a right to the material, whether the material is in fact the files they think it may be, and who was using the internet connection at the time. I also wonder why Denmark, which has no major media companies, is taking action like this. Most worrying, however, is the implication that we should not expect to have privacy online, and that Big Brother is watching everything that we do. Do we all have to log on through anonymous proxies to keep our privacy?

Now what's that just come in the post...?

As the media companies fight to maintain their profits, we're gradually losing our rights to the materials we pay for. When tape recorders came out, the record companies wanted huge taxes on blank tapes. When video recorders were invented, the film studios fought the legality of recording films from television and lost. Gradually, we're losing fair rights to media. If I buy a dvd in America, I can't play it in Europe. If I scratch a cd, I'm not allowed to have made a backup or download another copy.

The only way that media companies can stop people from copying their products is to lower prices. Very little of the money goes to the artists anyway, and as production prices have come down, retail prices have gone up (it costs much less to make a cd than a record). The only place I have seen media prices dropping is in Asia, where VCDs (video compact discs) were being heavily pirated. In response, the media companies dropped prices to around 3 a film, and now most people buy the originals. At the same time, the media companies have fought hard
to keep VCD's out of Europe and the USA to avoid the same thing happening here and their profits being erroded (it's even illegal to bring them back yourself). Now we have copy protected cd's that won't play in computers and you can't listen to on mp3 players unless you buy it again from the company's website, and next on the horizon are time expiry cd's and dvd's that will only be playable for a limited time. Aren't these monopolies getting too powerful?

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