This is just odd, for too many reasons. [URL="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8177285.stm"]A file sharer has been fined $675,000 for downloading illegal music[/URL]. He is a student. People have offered him money because they think it's an unreasonable amount to pay. He has turned them down. Why do I think this is odd? Well, one by one: the amount is indeed a ridiculous amount to expect a student to pay. Yes, of course he knew what he was doing was illegal and the people with the rights to the music to which he's helped himself have some sort of recourse. But twice the price …

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Kazaa has decided to join Pirate Bay in becoming a legal peer to peer service. This raises interesting questions for moralistic pedants like me. The full details of the story are [URL="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8159560.stm"]here[/URL] but that's not what I want to discuss. I'm more interested in what sort of message it sends out when people start off a business that's completely illegal by any amount of reckoning and are then effectively rewarded. Actually 'rewarded' might be putting it a bit strongly. The companies are wound up, declared bankrupt and the owners held up to public ridicule. It's just that so many of …

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It looks like common sense has broken out in New Zealand. There was a proposal to allow people to cut off customers completely when they were suspected of flouting copyright laws. Now that appears to be on [URL="http://www.out-law.com/default.aspx?page=9831"]hold[/URL]. I hope it won't come back. Let's be honest, I don't like people who flout copyright. They make my skin crawl - as a journalist and author I rely on retaining the rights to my work as part of my livelihood. So I'm biased and you might find it surprising that I'm so anti this measure. In fact I applaud the idea …

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The End.