Let me say it again: Stop sharing music!

This message is for kids, certainly, college students, and schools. File sharing is bad.

This message is for kids, certainly, college students, and schools. File sharing is bad. I don't care where you stand on the modernization of copyright law - the courts have spoken and now the Department of Justice has spoken. According to a piece in PC Magazine (and covered extensively elsewhere),

...in establishing that range, Congress took into account the need to deter millions of users of new media from infringing copyrights in an environment where many violators believe that they will go unnoticed.

This quote was taken from a brief written by the DOJ explaining that $80,000 a song was an acceptable penalty for file sharing and copyright infringement among run-of-the-mill Kazaa users.

My kids know better than to download and share music; I've certainly lectured them enough and they use their allowances and money from jobs to purchase music. However, even at home, I've blocked all ports associated with peer-to-peer networks.

As I was reimaging PCs the other day at our high school, I found a few on which students had managed to install peer-to-peer file sharing software (apparently they've discovered those wonderful administrator cracking live CDs, too). Fortunately, our new firewall and some tweaks to Group Policy should stop this nonsense in its tracks.

However, the significance of this latest ruling can't be emphasized enough to students and needs to be enforced vigorously on our networks. Want to download the latest Ubuntu ISO via torrents? Tough. Do it via http.

RIAA has already said it won't go after individual file sharers anymore and, while I'm somewhat skeptical about that, even if it's true that leaves schools and businesses who allow P2P on their networks wide open to liability. Shut it down, folks. Educate parents about how to shut it down and educate your students on the real possibility of litigation if they continue downloading and sharing songs. Perhaps the entertainment industry and copyright law will catch up with the Digital Revolution, but for now people are just being bankrupted.