The RIAA's vendetta against file sharing is entering a new phase, applying the taint of child pornography to foul the waters. Not content to sue twelve-year-old children, the music industry is now marshaling its flacks on Capitol Hill to stigmatize P2P technology as a vehicle of kiddie porn.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings earlier this week to expose the problem. Our children are encountering the most appalling images of child rape when they search for music files, a number of witnesses claimed.
General Accounting Office (GAO) Information Management Issues Director Linda Koontz had done some hands-on research.
"In one search, using 12 keywords known to be associated with child pornography on the Internet, GAO identified 1,286 titles and file names, determining that 543 (about 42 per cent) were associated with child pornography images. Of the remaining, 34 per cent were classified as adult pornography and 24 per cent as nonpornographic," she said.
Of course it's unlikely that children would accidentally search for music using keywords known to be associated with KP, but Koontz was prepared for that objection and brought along some research using more innocent keyword searches. Here the torrent of KP by which our children are being swept away seemed to slow to a trickle.
"Searches on innocuous keywords likely to be used by juveniles (such as names of cartoon characters or celebrities) produced a high proportion of pornographic images: in our searches, the retrieved images included adult pornography (34 per cent), cartoon pornography (14 per cent), child erotica (seven per cent), and child pornography (one per cent), Koontz admitted.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota has had some experience prosecuting pedos who've used P2P services. He implied that the KP available on KaZaA and other services is actually worse than that found elsewhere.
"The images of child pornography available on peer-to-peer networks are some of the worst seen by law enforcement to date. Included in the images seized by police in the cases being prosecuted by my office, are still photographs of very young children engaged in sexual acts with other children and adults and video clips lasting several minutes of children being subjected to unspeakable acts of sexual violence," Spota claimed.
How this is worse than the same vile material found elsewhere on the Internet in vastly greater quantities was not explained.
Later, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Chairman Robbie Calloway asserted that there is a direct connection between the availability of KP images and the likelihood that children will be assaulted in the real world.
A pedo "can convince himself that his behavior is normal, and eventually he will need more and increasingly explicit child pornography to satisfy his cravings. When mere visual stimulation no longer satisfies him, he will often progress to sexually molesting live children," he explained.
Next, Sharman Networks Executive Veep Alan Morris did his best to counter the demonization of KaZaA as a tool for dangerous perverts by pointing out that there are far safer ways to trade KP.
"Pedophiles quickly realized, when P2P first appeared, that it was a foolhardy way to pursue their warped ends. To make their collections publicly available on P2P is counter to their cloak of secrecy. Law enforcement agencies quickly picked them off and so they retreated back to their sordid encrypted sites, newsgroups and the like," Morris said.
When it came time for Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) President Cary Sherman to speak, he spent the bulk of his time whining about a "drastic decline in record sales" brought about by "the astronomical rate of music piracy on the Internet."
After mentioning kiddie porn briefly in passing, he then launched an attack against telecomms behemoth Verizon, which has not been quite as cooperative with the RIAA as Sherman would wish, having moved to protect the privacy of its subscribers from the music-lobby's 'John Doe' subpoenas.
He then recapitulated the RIAA's excellent arguments and Verizon's spurious arguments in this dispute at considerable length, and detailed exhaustively the various provisions of the DMCA that Verizon is supposedly violating, as if giving court testimony in that particular dispute.
Sherman concluded that "the DMCA information subpoena represents a fair and balanced process that includes important and meaningful safeguards to protect the privacy of individuals" and protect the music cartel's revenues, as if this had been the hearing's topic.
And of course it always was the topic. It's clear from Sherman's tirade that the day's exercise was purely an attack against P2P technology for its presumed negative effects on the music cartel's profits, not on children. The specter of child rape may have hung over the proceedings like a revolting stench, but it was nothing more than an atmospheric effect. If Sherman has the slightest concern for the welfare of children, he certainly knows how to hide it. ®