David Post writes about an atrocious new intellectual property bill that threatens to destroy the internet as we know it as well as eliminate our rights to privacy and due process. It's sponsored by the various media corporations who have been hurt by internet file sharing and the looming death of society's intellectual property regime. Go ahead and read about it... it's pretty absurd.
However, it's hard for me to get worked up over the bill. Why? Because the internet always wins. It won all over the Middle East and North Africa, it's winning in China, it's winning against the Republican political machine, and it will defeat the intellectual property rent-seekers. Any IP that is widely disseminated to the public will not be protected. Deal with it.
And of course it's not going to work. I guarantee that. It's too easy to circumvent -- anyone who understands the technology will agree with that. Sure, it will ensnare many unlawful actors. But at Internet scale, ensnaring some of the bad guys does not and cannot appreciably affect the conduct in question. Think of it this way: If there are 10 bad guys out there, and you've got a way to catch, say, 5 of them, that's usually a pretty good scheme. We'll have 5 fewer bad guys, and who knows, maybe just by probabilistic chance you'll catch all 10; after all, if you're 50 percent likely on average to catch each bad guy, it's unlikely but by no means impossible that you'll get 'em all.
But if there are 10 million bad guys and you get rid of half of them, there are still 5 million bad guys out there. And, with intellectual property, 5 million bad guys can do precisely as much "damage" to your intellectual property as 10 million. If "stamping out copyright infringement" looks like a nightmarish game of whack-a-mole that you can't possibly win -- well, I'm sorry about that, but that's just the way the world is, so get over it. There's more -- much more -- peer-to-peer file-sharing going on today than in the heyday of Napster and Grokster. Deal with it -- not by killing my Internet, thank you very much.
The internet will win. Our modern-day Neanderthals need to adapt.