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p2p Sites Form Defence Coalition
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Grokster and LimeWire are booting up a trade association to defend the rights of free p2p file traders, says Grokster president Wayne Rosso.

Rosso - who's on the road until Friday - told there's been no official announcement, but "Stay tuned!"

Other as yet unnamed sites are expected to join Grokster and LimeWire.

The news came in a June 24 online Washington Post Digital Rights debate.

In the meanwhile, "The problem is that legislators have just been pumped full of so much misinformation," Rosso went on in a follow-up WP story. "They think that we're all back-alley smut peddlers and identity thieves, and that's just not the case."

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And at the bottom of it is the entertainment industry, "including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The groups represent the biggest film studios and recording companies, which say they are losing money because of free, easily available copies of their music and movies on the Internet."

RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy, however, "scorned the new lobby's goals," said the WP.

"It takes a lot of chutzpah for companies that purposefully facilitate illegal copyright theft to turn around and lobby the nation's lawmakers. This is apparently a reaction to the interest of Congress in the rampant piracy, security and privacy concerns that these networks are responsible for."

"We welcome any debate that's based on facts," MPAA spokesman Rich Taylor is quoted as saying.

But, emphasised Rosso, file sharers aren't trying to deprive the recording industry of its deserved cash. "Copyright owners need to be paid and we certainly believe in copyright law," he says. "We just don't want it to be abused and don't want the rights of users to be trampled."

File sharing also has many legitimate uses, such as sharing information quickly and efficiently over long distances, said Greg Bildson, Lime Wire's chief operating officer, in the story.

"The media companies that are pushing their end of the issue have been tying file sharing [to] anything bad they can think of -- first it was child pornography then it was homeland security [threats]," Bildson said.

Mary Bono (R-Calif), who co-chairs a recently formed intellectual property and online piracy caucus, was quoted as saying she's eager to debate online copyright issues with the file sharing industry, but warned that it might get a chilly reception.

"If they start legitimizing piracy, they're in for a fight," said Bono.


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