FTC issues file sharing warning

Think the government has been unfairly favoring the rights of copyright holders and the RIAA? Think again. The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning to users of peer-to-peer file swapping networks, but it's not what you might expect. Instead of coming out against song swapping, the FTC only warns that downloading copyrighted material may mire you in "legal issues." It seems that the FTC is far more concerned with some of the other dangers associated with file swapping, and they've come up with a handy list of tips for P2P newbies:
  • Set up the file-sharing software very carefully, checking all the proper settings so only intended files are shared.
  • Be aware of spyware, software that monitors browsing habits and sends the data to third parties.
  • Make sure to close the connection after using the software.
  • Use and update anti-virus software regularly to protect computers from viruses consumers might pick up from other users.
  • Talk with family members about file-sharing and the security risks associated with it. Children may unintentionally download pornography or other material parents may think is inappropriate for them.
Since P2P networks can definitely be used responsibly without violating copyrights, it's good to see the FTC give an even-handed assessment of the risks associated with file sharing.
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