Acceptable Losses

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We have a calculation in print that it would take the RIAA over 2,000 years to sue each and every P2Per.

There’s a few problems with this.

First, the RIAA isn’t going after file downloaders; they’re going after file fencers.

Earlier statistics on this indicated that only about 10% of participants actually “share” and only about 1% seriously “share” (i.e. provide most of the downloads).

Given that, the time frame drops to a bit over two hundred/twenty years. Still not exactly a huge risk.

However, this is a prototype project. Get a bunch of cases together, work them through, and see what happens. If things work well, they have a new proven weapon. If it doesn’t, they’ll drop it.

In the great scheme of things, this is probably considered more a bargaining chip with Congress than anything else. It gives them a non-political option. They can say, “Look, if you don’t help us out with something like DRM, what else can we do?”

It’s a good argument.

Will this prototype stop P2Ping? I doubt even the creators of this strategy think that. Will it put a dent in it? So long as it is perceived by people that this isn’t perfectly safe (and media will play a big role in this), it probably will. Not as much a dent as RIAA and Company would like or probably think, but it likely will be sizable.

This is an armed reconaissance, not all-out war, and it’s an option, one of many options, and probably one of the last options.

If in the course of time, it is used (and it probably won’t), the numbers will be a lot bigger than 75 per day.

But that’s not what I find scary about this.

Acceptable Losses?

But let’s assume for argument’s sake that RIAA will sue 75 people a day, 365 days a years out of a population of 60 million. That’s 27,000 lawsuits a year.

The United States has a population of about 300 million, or five times the 60 million claimed.

If President Bush got on television tomorrow and said, “Don’t even think about terrorism any more. We estimate that only 135,000 of you will get hurt in terrorist attacks next year. Don’t worry, be happy.”

Would you not think President Bush had gone completely out of his mind? Would you feel safe and secure? Of course not, but this is precisely what the author of the piece is suggesting!

The scariest part of this is the suggested pain point, the point where this might “actually start affecting us?” The author suggests “six million.” Just about the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust.

OK, a lawsuit is hardly death, but it’s hardly one of your favorite things, either. But this is what you’re being volunteered for.

Six million legal casualties before it starts counting.

And the armchair generals are counting you in.

You don’t think the people egging you on don’t think you’re cannon fodder for their cause?

Am I the only person who finds something very inhuman about this?

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