INTERNET FILE-SHARING State officials to warn networks
It's the first time state attorneys general have joined against P2P networks.
WASHINGTON -- More than 40 state attorneys general are set to warn major peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that they may face enforcement actions if they do not take steps to stem illegal activity on the networks, such as the trading of child pornography and stolen movies and music.
In a letter to the heads of Kazaa, Grokster, BearShare, Blubster, eDonkey2000, LimeWire and Streamcast Networks, the attorneys general write that peer-to-peer (P2P) software "has too many times been hijacked by those who use it for illegal purposes to which the vast majority of our consumers do not wish to be exposed."
The letter, which could be sent as early as today and was obtained Wednesday by The Washington Post, is the first time state law enforcement officials have thrown their combined weight against the P2P networks, which allow free sharing of digital files -- movies, music, software, photos and so forth -- among millions of computer users.
The letter does not threaten immediate or specific action against the networks, but it does say, "We will, as appropriate, continue to initiate such actions in the future to stop deceptive and illegal practices by users of the Internet, including users of P2P software" if the networks do not take "concrete and meaningful steps" to prevent illegal use of their networks.
Courts have ruled that the networks are not liable for acts of their users, but those cases are under appeal.
Further, the attorneys general who signed the letter say the ruling does not fully exempt the networks from enforcement actions.
The P2P networks do not have a central server and thus are hard to police.