If you are downloading music with file sharing programs, the RIAA believes you are a thief and a pirate and you should go to a federal prison.

That’s been true for a long time. Many people – roughly, the entire population of the world – have decided to live with that guilt and download music anyway.

But how about if you knew that you were encouraging behavior that harms children? I’ll bet you didn’t realize that you were threatening national security! You swine.

Those are the key points in an 80-page report from the US Patent and Trademark Office released today. Here’s an article about the USPTO report and here’s the text of the report.

It makes perfect sense. Children might be induced to run file sharing programs to download music, and – unknowingly and unintentionally – the programs will be allowing other people to upload music from the child’s computer. The RIAA might sue the children for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and children might somehow interpret that to mean the RIAA was antagonistic instead of their best friend. Therefore – file sharing harms children. Ta da!

Government workers install file sharing software on their home or office computers and are tricked into sharing folders jam packed with classified information, which is promptly downloaded by terrorists who stumble on it during a search for Celine Dion. Therefore – file sharing jeopardizes national security!

I hope it’s obvious that the programs don’t work that way, the underlying data is misrepresented, the arguments are specious, and the conclusions are just plain bizarre. If you’re looking for a good cause, support the work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which continues to struggle against this madness.

Share This