I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been guilty of illegal filesharing in times past. But these days, all of us go through legal channels to get our music. What makes the P2P debate interesting now is not that we necessarily want the filesharing of copyrighted works to become legal. It’s that there are other proven uses for the technology.
I have heard stories from students on college campuses who have been cited by their universities for running BitTorrent clients because, according to the university, BitTorrent is used only for illegal filesharing. But.. upon further investigation, you’ll find that these students were not torrenting the latest Jessica Simpson album, but the latest version of FreeBSD, which is perfectly legal to download in this fashion.
Peer to Peer filesharing is a boon to non-profit organizations such as the BSD Project and the Mozilla Foundation. It spares them from spending a lot of money that they don’t have on expensive bandwidth and anyone who is interested in their products is more than happy to share the love by distributing these quite legal programs using their own bandwidth to do so.
I think we’ll see a similar ruling to Betamax here. Yes, the technology can be used for bad things, but it’s not Grokster’s fault for implementing the technology.. it has a plethora of other legitimate and legal uses as well.