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Aimster update

Ronald Hanaki
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TwoFer thinks that Aimster is spoiling for a fight against the big boys. He sends us this update:

The Aimster service creates a “virtual private network” that allows people using the America Online Instant Message application to create a “mini-Napster” with friends on a buddy list. Unlike Napster, which makes files available to anyone who is logged on the network, Aimster only makes files available to those people you already know.

Napster lawyer David Boies, who is embroiled in his own copyright fight, has helped Aimster make its service compliant with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), said Rob Batchelder, research director at Gartner.

Aimster encrypts everything that is moved around its network, including all files and directories. It is impossible for anyone outside the system to monitor the network without circumventing the security. Breaking the encryption is illegal under the DMCA because the network and its programming code are copyrighted.

“This is untested territory because in the DeCSS case, the main legal issue revolves around the dissemination of the anti-circumvention codes,” said Whitney Broussard, an entertainment copyright lawyer with New York’s Selverne, Mandlebaum & Mintz, LLP. “With Aimster, this is just like sitting in your living rooms. You can’t just have law enforcement officials running into your house, searching for illegal activity.”

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