Watch out!

Senators turning up heat on P2P pirates
WASHINGTON (Hollywood Reporter) – Lawmakers pushed federal authorities Wednesday to crack down on peer-to-peer services that pirate copyrighted works, while one P2P operator told them pressure from the recording industry was forcing him to change his ways.
Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told officials with the Justice Department and the U.S. Copyright Office that they wanted recommendations for government action on the issue.
They spoke at a Capitol Hill hearing on the services following the Supreme Court’s June decision in MGM v. Grokster that file sharing networks could be liable when their users copy music, movies and other protected works without permission.
Feinstein, in particular, was upset over what she views as inaction by the Justice Department.
“We have a unanimous Supreme Court decision, and peer-to-peer use is increasing,” she said. “To me, that’s a signal we need a strong law to protect copyright companies.”
Debra Wong Yang, the U.S. attorney for California’s central district, defended the department’s actions, pointing out several investigations DOJ has undertaken that have led to arrests and convictions.
“Our mind-set is to go after those who are distributing the bulk of the material,” said Yang, who chairs the new Subcommittee on Cyber Crime and Intellectual Property of the department’s Advisory Committee.
That failed to mollify Specter or Feinstein, who appeared to want her department to be much more active.
“Why not go after both levels?” Specter asked. “Why not get tough? That’s what Sen. Feinstein wants to do, and I think it’s a good idea.”
Yang told the lawmakers that the department is concentrating on netting the big fish because it does not have the resources to go after every infringer.
“It’s got to either be made legal or shut down,” Feinstein said. “What bothers me is the information we’re being given that the activity is increasing.”
Despite the fact that some lawmakers view it as a lack of action, the Grokster decision claimed at least one victim as the developer of the eDonkey P2P application said he is planning to call it quits.
“I’m not an anarchist,” said Sam Yagan, president of MetaMachine Inc., which created eDonkey and Overnet. “I’m throwing in the towel.”
EDonkey was one of several that received “cease and desist” letters from the RIAA this month. Yagan said his company planned to convert to a “closed” P2P environment once it reaches a settlement deal with the Rceording Industry Assn. of America, the trade group that represents the major U.S. labels.
The decision to remake eDonkey was prompted by the cost it would take to litigate in the post-Grokster world, not that the company would fail on the merits. Yagan told the committee he thought the litigation after the Grokster case was misguided because “off-shore, underground, rogue P2P operators” will benefit the most because they have lost “a handful of their most legitimate competitors.”