Jon Healey On The State of Play Today

File sharing: to fight or accommodate?

The movie and music industries have long had a common problem with piracy. Yet as the infringements migrated from analog to digital, their responses have diverged. The most recent illustration came in comments last week by Jim Griffin, a digital maverick retained by Warner Music Group, and Jim Williams, chief technical officer for the Motion Picture Assn. of America. In remarks published Wednesday (pdf), Griffin called on Internet service providers to let customers download and share an unlimited quantity of music for a flat fee of about $5 a month. At a conference in Hollywood the next day, Williams urged ISPs to use emerging technology to stop customers from downloading and sharing bootlegged movies online.

Put another way, a top geek at a major record label said, “Let’s embrace file sharing and make some money off it,” and a top geek at the MPAA replied, “Let’s take the fight against file sharing to another level.”

Sadly, few comments at the LATimes site, versus the firestorm Griffin’s proposal has set up at Slashdot and Pho