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Bluster Ain't No Madster
By Eric de Fontenay (Founder & Publisher)
(more articles from this author)
2003-07-14
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The industry celebrated an important decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upholding a lower court's injunction against the file sharing service Aimster turned Madster. The decision specifically attacked Madster's claim that they were under no obligation to block illicit files as it was unable to monitor the encrypted files traded on its network. "One who, knowingly or strongly suspecting that he is involved in shady dealings, takes steps to ensure that he does not acquire full or exact knowledge of the nature and extent of those dealings, is held to have criminal intent." Does the decision spell a premature death sentence for anonymous p2p systems such as Blubster?

Not necessarily. While Aimster/Madster's ability to encrypt was purposely instituted to cover file sharers illicit as well as legal trading, Bluster's anonymity is more a fringe benefit of the decentralized network distribution system utilized. Unlike Aimster, Bluster could credibly argue that its users anonymity is inherent to the system's distribution network, which uses a different transport protocol from the standard TCP/IP. While the primary advantage of this technological choice is the ability to provide greater speed and efficiency for users, a corollary advantage is anonymity. Bluster could thus argue that the system was not specifically designed to provide anonymity, as in the case of Madster.

Of course, proclamation like "Blubster will always pursue counter measures to preserve the freedom and empowerment of decentralized networking," could come back to bite in court.


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