Some people never learn. The record industry is hard at work designing downloads that damage your data, according to reports. Should you be so misguided as to grab a tainted MP3, you'll run the risk of having your computer lock up -- losing anything you may have been working on but not saved. Anything to save ourselves from the incredible evil of peer-to-peer transfer. But we've been here before. Back in the eighties, software copying occupied a similar position in the minds of industry associations as chief threat to civilisation. Various heavy-handed solutions were proposed: we had dongles that had to be plugged into the printer port (and stopped your printer from working), arcane optical devices that displayed passwords when placed over scrambled pixels on screen, even special chips that had to be added to motherboards. All were circumvented in days, with the only people inconvenienced being legitimate users. All have been abandoned: the biggest threat to the software industry now appears to be patent lawyers. But the worst notion was the one where software detected it was running illegally and formatted your hard disk. Yes, people actually did that. And yes, it sometimes triggered incorrectly. You can guess what happened to the company behind that bright idea. So, before the RIAA deploys killer MP3s (something I frankly doubt is possible), it should consider that countermeasures will be out in hours, that people following the rules will be hit disproportionately when things go wrong -- as they will -- and that destroying your customers' data never, ever does you any good. All they have to do to confirm this is read a few computer magazines from the 1980s.