Patent Office says P2P bad for you

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the geniuses who are keeping patent attorneys in caviar, champagne and corniches, have something to say to you: If you are using peer-to-peer networks, then you are breaking the law. In fact, they have published a study to prove something every MI3 downloading 12-year-old knows. Talk about putting our tax dollars to work.

In his foreword to the study, Jon W. Dudas, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office writes:

During 2005, when the Department of Homeland Security warned all Federal Agencies that government employees or contractors who had installed filesharing programs on their home or work computers had repeatedly compromised national and military security by “sharing” files containing sensitive or classified data. But it seems highly unlikely that any of them intended to compromise national or military security for the
sake of “free music.”

Nevertheless the 80-page study that looks at the five of the more popular P2P networks (Bearshare, eDonkey, Kazaa, Limewire and Morpheus) does have some interesting findings, which are obvious to seasoned P2P users but can be a bit of a surprise to a rookie user.

For instance, it notes that four of the programs have features that “make it far more difficult for users to disable sharing of the folder used to store downloaded files” and that the uninstalls of these programs are partial. The programs may also keep sharing files, even if users don’t really want them to.

But is this news? And something the patent office should be concerned with? I wonder why they didn’t look at BitTorrent and some of the newer networks, that are gaining in popularity.

Maybe that is the topic of the next 80-page report.


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