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[FYI] NYT: "The Concept of Copyright Fights for Internet Survival"


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May 10, 2000  

The Concept of Copyright Fights for Internet Survival  


While American courts struggle over the recording industry's 
challenge to digital music swapping, Ian Clarke, a 23-year-old Irish 
programmer, is moving on to the next battleground. He is finishing a 
program that he says will make it impossible to control the traffic 
in any kind of digital information -- whether it is music, video, 
text or software.  

His program, known as Freenet, is intended to make it possible to 
acquire or exchange such material anonymously while frustrating any 
attempt to remove the information from the Internet or determine its 

Mr. Clarke and his group of programmers have deliberately set 
themselves on a collision course with the world's copyright laws. 
They express the hope that the clash over copyright enforcement in 
cyberspace will produce a world in which all information is freely 
shared. In any case, the new programs could change the basic terms of 
the discussion about intellectual property.  

The swapping of music files over the Internet, through services like 
Napster and MP3.com, has already raised the hackles and mobilized the 
lawyers of the recording industry and some musicians, who say the 
practice amounts to piracy. They hope either to halt the services or 
to collect royalties on the digital works being swapped.  


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