[LINK] Taming the Web
Mon, 10 Sep 2001 19:06:32 +1000 (EST)
Taming the Web
By Charles C. Mann September 2001, Technology Review
"Information wants to be free." "The Internet can't be controlled."
We've heard it so often that we sometimes take for granted that it's
true. But THE INTERNET CAN BE CONTROLLED, and those who argue
otherwise are hastening the day when it will be controlled too much,
by the wrong people, and for the wrong reasons.
Last December, Vincent Falco, a 28-year-old game programmer in West
Palm Beach, FL, released version 1.0 of a pet project he called
BearShare. BearShare is decentralized file-sharing software—that is,
it allows thousands of Internet users to search each other's hard
drives for files and exchange them without any supervision or
monitoring. Released free of charge, downloaded millions of times,
BearShare is a raspberry in the face of the music, film and
publishing industries: six months after the release of version 1.0,
tens of thousands of songs, movies, videos and texts were coursing
through the network every day. Because the software links together a
constantly changing, ad hoc collection of users, Falco says, "there's
no central point for the industries to attack." BearShare, in other
words, is unstoppable.
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