The announcement yesterday by Attorney General John Ashcroft that the Justice Department had executed search warrants on five homes and one ISP in connection with alleged illegal copying and sharing of music and movie files didn't necessarily send shivers up the spines of business-technology managers-but maybe it should have.
The announcement yesterday by Attorney General John Ashcroft that the Justice Department had executed search warrants on five homes and one ISP in connection with alleged illegal copying and sharing of music and movie files didn't necessarily send shivers up the spines of business-technology managers-but maybe it should have.This is the first time federal authorities have gotten involved in law-enforcement action connected with illegal file sharing, according to Ashcroft, but it won't be the last. And while private business generally has been excluded from this type of action, that may not be the case for long.
The Recording Industry Association of America has spearheaded the drive against illegal file sharing by filing thousands of lawsuits against file-sharing servers and their owners and participants. In fact, the RIAA reportedly filed lawsuits against 744 individuals yesterday, at the same time the feds were executing the search warrants. But the RIAA, for whatever reason, has by and large avoided targeting businesses, despite the likely assumption that there are servers in big companies hoarding and swapping large caches of movies and music-albeit unbeknownst to the top technology execs.
The feds' aggressive involvement in illegal peer-to-peer file sharing should be a loud wake-up call to business-technology executives that if they are not now on the lookout for this type of secret-or not-so-secret-activity within their organizations, they better get hip to it, and fast. What may have been looked on once as a benign distraction is now a major federal crime. And big business is not immune.
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