Statement Of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Oversight Hearing on "Piracy of Intellectual Property On Peer-to-Peer Applications"

September 26, 2002
Press Release

“There is growing consensus that advanced peer-to-peer applications are the next ¥killer app’ that will drive growth in the sagging computer hardware, software and equipment industries, as businesses and consumers demand faster and more powerful PCs. Peer-to-peer applications also have the potential to finally give consumers a reason to embrace broadband.

“But today, we are not here to discuss ways to harness this potential and encourage investments in peer-to-peer applications. We are here solely to focus on ways to help copyright holders sabotage peer-to-peer networks if they think their works are being infringed.

“Illegal file-sharing is a problem. But the breadth of the current proposal is of concern. Among other things, it seems to give copyright holders the power to launch denial-of-service attacks and other invasive ¥self-help’ measures. It appears to authorize and make it easy for copyright holders to delete an individual’s files if they receive ¥authorization’ in a non-negotiable licensing agreement. It would make it nearly impossible for consumers to seek redress against copyright holders that cause unwarranted damage, much less find out who caused the damage.

“One of the most disturbing parts of the current discussion is that once again, the interests of the consumer are being overlooked. According to the RIAA’s own figures, there have been 120 million downloads of KaZaA and 70 million downloads of Morpheus. To some, that simply means there are millions of ¥pirates.’ But it tells us that consumers want digital distribution.

“We can debate ¥spoofing,’ ¥decoys’ and ¥interdiction,’ but the problem of online piracy will not be solved until those in the content and technology industries give consumers what they want — digital distribution that is affordable, secure and user-friendly.

“The fact is peer-to-peer networks, like the Internet, is here to stay. I hope some day soon this Committee can explore ways to harness their potential.”