February 23, 2003
The Honest Thief

The WSJ (sub. req.) (IP reprint) and CNet report a new venture by Pieter Plass, a Dutch construction CEO and owner of PGR BV (a software company). His new company, "the Honest Thief," will help the next KaZaa or Aimster start file sharing, in order to make "some honest money," where they "hope The Honest Thief will become to file sharing what the Swiss are to banking." He created this company based on the ruling last March by a court in the Netherlands that said P2P file sharing, and KaZaa, were legal. The decision is under appeal.

Apparently another company, Transparency Software LLC (US) makes software that blocks P2P file sharing of copyrighted materials and is also considering starting a P2P biz in the Netherlands, but they would also not share anything that is unauthorized.

While these companies may be clever in exploiting differences between national laws and the state of P2P file sharing, I can't help thinking this is a plan B, where in lieu of the music industry recognizing the huge media market (50 million downloaders!) placed before them, prime for the taking, their efforts have caused a situation inviting all sorts of crazy small work-arounds. There is a simpler solution: the RIAA/MPAA etc. could accept some piracy as a cost of doing business, and start the real business of file sharing content consumers want, most of whom will pay for it, if it's simple, good, and reliable.

Posted by Mary Hodder at February 23, 2003 08:17 AM
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