Music Swappers Get a Message on PC Screens: Stop It Now

“The record industry started another campaign yesterday aimed at making life more uncomfortable for online music-swapping fans.

Thousands of people trading copyrighted music online yesterday saw a message appear unbidden on their computer screens: ‘When you break the law, you risk legal penalties. There is a simple way to avoid that risk: don’t steal music.’

The messages, which seek to turn a chat feature in popular file-trading software to the industry’s benefit, reflect the latest effort among record executives to limit digital copying of their products.

The association plans to send at least a million warnings a week to people offering popular songs for others to copy. Operated by a company that industry officials declined to identify, the automated system uses a feature in both KaZaA and Grokster, free software commonly used to share music files, that was designed to let users communicate with one another.” NY Times

A modest proposal to end spam:

“It’s not every day people bet their jobs on the effectiveness of a law–let alone an antispam law. Many U.S. states have already enacted such e-mail laws, and spam keeps flooding in.

But that’s exactly what Larry Lessig, a Stanford University law professor and one of the most prominent liberal voices online, has done. A few months ago, Lessig made an unusual wager: If Congress enacts an antispam law that offers bounties for the reporting of spammers, and the law fails to “substantially reduce the level of spam,” he will resign from his dream job at a top law school.

Lessig is either extremely reckless or incredibly confident. He has asked me to be the judge of whether such a law proves effective in reducing the deluge of unsolicited e-mail that’s clogging our in-boxes, snarling mail servers and driving Internet service providers to distraction. I’ve accepted.” — Declan McCullagh, CNET