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Aimster fights fire with fire

Ronald Hanaki
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TwoFer sent in this C|Net story from Friday:

This week, Aimster unveiled a new terms of service agreement that attempts to shift the burden for trading copyrighted material from itself to individuals and tries to force the music industry to break the law if it wants to monitor file trading.

…Aimster is attempting to shield itself behind the very law the entertainment industry has used to go after file-swapping company Napster. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a controversial law backed by music companies and other large copyright holders, prohibits anyone from cracking code designed to protect copyrights. Aimster, which incorporated an encryption scheme into a new version released Wednesday, hopes that provision applies to it as well.

“The encryption technology makes it a federal crime to spam or monitor the network,” Deep said, adding that it could affect record companies. “We didn’t do it to shut them out, but I don’t think there will be any way to distinguish between” spammers and record labels.

Aimster, whose system combines the properties of a file-swapping system with instant messaging, says that “data collectors and other potential spies, eavesdroppers or wiretappers” on its system risk up to $500,000 in fines and five years in jail if they attempt to crack the site’s security to snoop on the service.

The rest of the article is here. TR considers the future of file sharing in this column. Thanks again to TwoFer for busting my chops.

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