Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Friday 5/04/2002So, Kazaa and Morpheus are both caught out, Kazaa for including a secret distributed processing system on their peer-to-peer file sharing system, and Morpheus for secretly redirecting punters' shopping requests via their own sites. Leaving the moral aspect of all this to one side -- if you use some software to break copyright law, can you complain if that software turns around and bites you on the bottom?

Friday 5/04/2002

So, Kazaa and Morpheus are both caught out, Kazaa for including a secret distributed processing system on their peer-to-peer file sharing system, and Morpheus for secretly redirecting punters' shopping requests via their own sites. Leaving the moral aspect of all this to one side -- if you use some software to break copyright law, can you complain if that software turns around and bites you on the bottom? -- these two related events show how far we are from understanding what exactly our computers do all day. Recent legislation that bans us from trying to unpick software to find out what's going on doesn't help: we're heading towards a stage where we have to trust our lives to complex systems controlled by large, incompetent corporations who use the law to prevent any criticism or analysis.

And who do we have to save us from this Orwellian dystopia? Richard Stallman. Can someone invent the warp drive soon, please, I feel the urgent need to get off-planet.

It's not all craven stupidity, though: Celine Dion's new CD won't play on computers, thank Spike. Copy protection has some good points. Although how Sony can say, "It can crash your computer, but won't corrupt its contents," when it has absolutely no way of knowing, is beyond me.

Scotty? Where are you, Scotty?

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