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The Hazards of Filesharing

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Yes, it's true. I advocate filesharing as a marketing tool, legal filesharing, that is.

Forty million people globally are sharing files on a regular basis, even though the RIAA has instituted a campaign of intimidation, with their much publized lawsuits. I don't think artists' creations should be ripped off, lord knows it's hard enough to make a living doing anything creative here in the early days of the 21st century.

Yet the heavy handed tactics of the RIAA aren't helping. People are still going to file share, even though there's a very slim chance they'll get caught. Somebody who downloads a couple of files from time to time using Grokster, or Kazaa, isn't going to get busted.

Most filesharers are young people who like to regularly flaunt the law, anyway. When you're eighteen, if somebody says don't do something, you probably end up doing it. This has been true since the dawn of man, its a rite of passage. Call it the adventurous nature of our youth. When we're young we think we know it all, and what our elders tell us just don't ring true. So if the RIAA, just another group of parents, says, don't fileshare, you'll get busted, what will most kids do? Fileshare!

Filesharing does have its hazards, however. So beware.

The filesharing services, Limewire, Grokster, Morpheus, Kazaa, these aren't college kids sitting in their dorm rooms coding like crazy and trying to save the world. These are commercial enterprises. When you download their software, you can pay $29.95 for the ad-free version, or you can get the free version, with the ads.

The advertisements are from major corporations, like Verizon and Citibank. Even though there's a lot of talk about the legality of filesharing, I don't see anybody not advertising there. Advertisers see numbers, and they flock.

I don't mind ads, but what happens to your computer, ah, there's the problem.

When you download the version of these programs, you get a lot of additional software put on your computer, some of it attaches itself to your configuration files, to your system folder. So that when you turn on your computer, this software starts to run. It tracks your web useage, tries to get you to go to certain websites, sell you all manner of useless junk via pop-ups. What a pain in the ass!

There's a name for this annoyance, spyware, and there are programs that will help you get this shit off your hard drive.

So, one must take this into account, when filesharing.

I still believe filesharing is a valid medium for marketing music, but if you want to do this, seriously, I strongly recommend buying a back-up computer, and using the 2nd machine for this purpose. A new computer that's web ready, without a monitor, printer and the other firepower, is about $300 these days. Rather than tie up your main computer with a lot of useless shit that's going to slow it down, make an investment and buy a 2nd, less powerful machine, to use for filesharing.

I'm still researching my Jazz-only Digital Downloads Legal Website rant. Thanks to all who wrote regarding it. It's coming.

Next time: How George Bush Will Kill Jazz


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