Friday, June 08, 2007



This week I went to Washington, to testify before the House Committee on Science and Technology about the university perspective on illegal filesharing. My testimony resulted in what may be the worst picture ever taken of any person, at any time, ever.

ASU was invited to testify before the committee to describe its approach to illegal filesharing on its campus. In my remarks, I outlined how ASU uses a combination of education, enforcement, legal alternatives, and network management to contain copyright infringement by members of its community. I also pointed out to the committee that while potentially effective, the protection offered by any given technical measure is temporary, and that the "arms race" of escalating counter-measures needed to combat evolving file-sharing programs over the long term is an increasingly expensive proposition for universities.

I believe that the only permanent solution to illegal filesharing must come from the marketplace. Its hard to sell CD's when they are no longer the product that customers want to buy. If more companies follow the example of EMI and Apple and begin to offer products in forms that customers want, at prices customers are willing to pay, illegal filesharing will move back to the margins and out of the mainstream.

At least that's how it looks to the goofy guy in the tie with his eyes closed on CSpan2. What's with that smirk anyway?


Bryan Brandenburg June 8, 2007 at 3:45 AM  

Just stopped in to say hello.

Cameron Scholtz June 12, 2007 at 2:34 AM  

I think you're spot on suggesting a free market. Consumers tired many years ago of buying an album to get one good song. The record companies turn out less and less talent every year. Most customers are honest and they want their moneys' worth. Unfortunately I think it will take years for the recording industry to rebuild its credibility. And that's assuming it starts now...which it isn't.



A Friend,  June 20, 2007 at 1:46 AM  

Video Stream of Hearing...

ASU Student,  July 3, 2007 at 8:33 AM  

I agree that the solution to this problem should come from the marketplace. I think it's important that the university focus on educating it's students on the issues surrounding illegal filesharing. It is not fair to punish a person who does not know that he/she is committing a crime.

Logan Isaac,  July 3, 2007 at 8:57 AM  

I think leaving the accountablity to the marketplace avoids the responsibility inherent at a major university. Enforcement of the laws set down by the government is not subject to economic theory. If corporations have to be responsible for creating inherent measures in their products to prevent violations of the law, most companies would go bankrupt due to the increasing cost of doing business. The notion that selling files in a consumer friendly format is a simplistic short sighted answer to the problem. The problem isn't whether a person first buys the music on a CD or through an online store, the problem is when that person then shares the music illegally with hundreds if not thousands of others. ASU is responsible for the enforcement of state and federal laws on its campus. We don't decide which laws we will or will not enforce based upon our current resources, that would be a ridiculous assumption of authority. ASU seems intent on partnering with major companies in the IT field whenever possible (see Google). If major universities like ourselves decided to not enforce federal law protecting their products, I can't see partnerships like this growing. ASU shouldn't disregard the justice system just because enforcement of the laws would be challenging or require further resources on our part.

Tom Smith April 2, 2009 at 11:13 PM  

If you're interested in the subject I strongly recommend you read the book called the 'Pirate's Dilemma'. It provides arguments and justifications for piracy.