P2P networks claim they can't filter content

— 3:00 AM on January 29, 2004

Last November, a number of US legislators sent a letter to the P2P United trade association demanding that its members, which include BearShare, Blubster, Grokster, eDonkey, and Morpheus, halt the trading of illegal material over their networks. However, P2P United is claiming that it's technologically infeasible to filter out illegal files, including copyrighted and sexually inappropriate material, due to the decentralized nature of their members' peer-to-peer networks.

Lawmakers "have been deliberately misinformed by self-interested industry about the technological capability of peer-to-peer services," said Adam Eisgrau, P2P United's executive director. "It is not that we won't filter out copyrighted material and inappropriate sexual material. It's that we can't."
Eisgrau's claims are somewhat at odds with those made by Audible Magic, who have developed software that can identify and filter out digital audio files according to their acoustic characteristics. Audible Magic's software has already been demoed for the press and for Congress, but it's designed to work at the network level rather than be integrated into a P2P application.
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