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Grokster and the Crossbow · 2005-03-31

There is this MGM vs. Grokster trail going on right now. Obviously there is effort of the movie and music industry to hinder peer-to-peer networks by sueing organisations that provide the infrastructure. The reasoning is copyright infringement, of course. Actually, I do not think that this is something to get nervous about.

The whole issue reminds me of the history of the crossbow in medieval times. In 1132 the Lateran Council declared that the crossbow was an unchristian weapon and therefore banned it. Why was that? Because the crossbow could break iron amour suits of the noblemen at these times. Warfare became as dangerous for them, as it was for the peasants already. What to do about that? Well, ban the crossbow. Now, what do we know about the spreading of the crossbow? People didn't give a damn about the pope's ban. The use of the crossbow only declined when better technology was available.

It is the same with peer-to-peer technology. It is just too mighty.

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