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File sharing is freedom

by Giles Turnbull -- 2000/08/24

Even if Napster is doomed to be closed down by the courts, the concept of file sharing will live on, according to BT's technology guru Peter Cochrane.

To Cochrane, the file-sharing concept equates to freedom. But the music industry is reacting the wrong way.

He writes:

This new paradigm really is about a world where more bits are free than constrained, where we can choose to make what we own, produce, like or know available to everyone. To me, it is the epitome of what the web is about - freedom.

So does this basic technology and new freedom pose a significant threat to anyone? I think not. It is likely to be about as damaging as the camera has been to artists painting in oils, or the printing press to the writer, or indeed the PC to the magazine market. We have to imagine a world where we, as individuals, choose to make a given selection of all our material publicly accessible to the planet.

Cochrane seems to agree with previous WriteTheWeb coverage declaring that copyright is dead.

But his conclusion is even more dramatic:

Those embracing this technology will become very influential, and collectively more powerful than most people can imagine.

Collective power in what way? Well it could be in the sense that those who create and share will build reputation. Those with reputation will be able to command interest from an audience. Those who have the attention of the audience will be able to charge them for other things.

Or sell marketers advertising space.