Friday, September 23, 2005


Mary Whitehouse and Norris McWhirter used to be members of a group Moral Re-Armament, who were so afraid of everything that, besides developing a right-wing worldview which would make Pat Buchanan blanch, they would insist that members sleep with their arms outside the bedclothes, so they couldn't inadventently masturbate while they were sleeping. And what made us think of this?

The IFPI, actually. They've just launched some software which you can stick onto your computer to prevent accidental file sharing, in case - in your sleep - you might start to download the new Madonna album.

It's unclear if this is merely a reverse version of those programs which throw off all the spyware stuff you accidently stick onto your PC when you download a filesharing program, designed to remove kazaa and allow those advertising and keystroke grabbers free to do their stuff.

IFPI chairman John Kennedy said the program was an educational tool aimed at "making life easier for people who want to enjoy music responsibly and legally on the internet".

"This initiative comes at a time when downloading music legally has never been easier, with over 350 sites offering over a million tracks," he said.

We're not entirely clear how a piece of software that throw stuff off your machine is "educational" - nor, indeed, why the IFPI is pushing something that's blunt enough to wipe off the very same software that some labels are using to legitmately share music through, via, say, the likes of the Playlouder ISP.

The FAQ guide (which most people won't read, of course) does make some grudging noises that there are legal uses for filesharing programmes. But even there, the wording is a little, well, skewed:

If you want to go a step further, you can use Digital File Check to search and delete individual files from the "shared folders" part of your computer. Keeping any copyrighted material in these folders is likely to be illegal.

Hang about a minute... have we missed something happening in Congress that makes merely possessing a file - regardless of how you came by it - in a folder which could, potentially, be shared to be "likely" to be illegal?

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