Home Music Music News

Can Porn Kill File-Sharing?

Record labels trying a new tack to shut down P2P networks

The music industry is hoping that the availability of child
pornography on peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa will help put
file sharing out of business. Record executives have been
frustrated that Congress hasn’t acted to curb piracy on these
services, but some are now optimistic that lawmakers will
intervene. “This is like Al Capone and taxes, which is how the
government got him,” says Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope
Records. “This shows peer-to-peers for what they really are.”

At a September 9th Senate hearing on the connection between porn
and peer-to-peer, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, warned about the “great
risk of inadvertent exposure to these materials by young P2P
users.” Two congressmen have introduced a bill to mandate parental
consent before children can access such networks. A government
report last March found that more than half the searches for files
named “Britney Spears,” “Pokemon” and “Olsen twins” retrieved
pornography, including eight percent that contained images of
children.

In July, authorities in Suffolk County, New York made one of the
first-ever child-porn busts of peer-to-peer offenders, arresting
twelve people between ages sixteen and thirty-eight. Investigators
found the suspects by searching hard drives for secret file terms
that child pornographers use, much in the same manner that the
music industry is hunting for illegally shared music files.
“There’s no easier way to get child pornography than peer-to-peer
right now,” says Randy Saaf, president of MediaDefender, a
technology firm that assisted the police investigation.

File-sharing defenders decried the suggestion that Kazaa is to
blame, saying that the software is no different from e-mail or Web
browsers, both of which can also be used to access child porn. Alan
Morris, an executive at Sharman Networks, which distributes the
Kazaa software, told the Senate panel that “certain Hollywood
interests . . . have embarked on a deliberate campaign to try to
smear P2P technology itself.” Kazaa, in particular, says it already
offers a filter to exclude keywords associated with pornography
from appearing in search results. But that’s not enough to stop the
music industry’s campaign. “They are hiding behind the fact that
they don’t control their users,” says Iovine. “But what is really
going on is pornography is delivered to unsuspecting kids.”

Show Comments

Newswire

Powered by
Close comments

Add a comment