I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. They seem overly optimistic and just a way to make polite conversation at whatever party you happen to be attending. Well, this year I made a vow, for the first time in my life.

You see, one of the things I'm thinking of doing in law school is intellectual property law. You can do a lot of good with it, as the cases seem to run company vs. individual or big company vs. little company. I've always had an interest in media copyright policy (i.e. music/film downloading issues).

So my resolution is to refrain from violating copyright law in 2008 as much as possible. If you think that you could do it completely, then duct tape your mouth before singing "Happy Birthday" and steer clear of YouTube. I challenge anyone to say they haven't violated copyright law in some trivial way.

That being said, I decided to eulogize my old stomping grounds, and mention a few businesses that I now expect to collect on my newfound morals. And I'll do this in the true spirit of the holiday, by comparing each to a person at a New Year's party.


Napster was the originator of this whole movement. I don't exactly remember who told me about it, but I remember it was very early on at college. I was blown away by the possibilities, and the slick interface was easy enough that within weeks of it first appearing in the dorms, everyone was hooked and suddenly had these giant libraries of music with which to dance. It all seemed too good to be true, and was. Napster is now an incredibly unsuccessful counterpoint to iTunes. Sell out.

Napster is like a guy throwing a party. He's older and buys the beer, and even sometimes gives it away just because he's a nice sumbitch. As time goes on, though, too many people start using him for his generosity, and he shaves his mustache and gets a desk job. He then picks up a wife, kids, and prescription drug habit, disappearing, except in the teary eyed, nostalgic drunk recollections of his former acolytes. One day he pops back up at a party, but he's lost it. Just lost it.


iMesh was where everyone got their videos, and was peas to Napster's carrots. It sticks out in my mind because it showed the videos that no longer aired on MTV, and also because of one extremely popular video. Keep in mind, this was before YouTube, so if people were dancing in the Filipino prisons, you'd get the video off iMesh. It didn't hold up too well for the traffic it generated, though, and was thus a bad omen of things to come.

iMesh is the guy who shows up at a party first. He's not as good looking or suave or intelligent as the host. His whole game is trying to be around the host while carving off a little drunk something for himself. He shows up first so that he gets maximum drinking time for the night. He's inadvertently funny, however, and thus an important part of the development of a party.


WinMX, as I think it was called, jumped into the mix pretty early and was memorable for exactly nothing. I'm not even sure that WinMX is the thing I used. That's how forgettable the whole operation was.

WinMX is like the guy who shows up with iMesh because it beats sitting around the dorm watching The Color of Night with some chicken tenders. He has big dreams but knows they won't come true.


Ah Morpheus. Finally, someone made an upgrade. Morpheus popped up on the scene, and no one really understood how it worked exactly. But they knew that they could grab new movies on the thing, or even some cheap songs now that Napster had sort of disappeared.

Morpheus is definitely the guy who shows up and suggests a game of Circle of Death. Although it seems like a yawner at first, you know that it'll lead to a big payoff - drunk girls. You don't know how he does it but you'll gladly reap the benefits.


Limewire was the beginning of the end of the Napster form (P2P) of filesharing. Due to the success of Morpheus and the demise of a solid MP3 source, people wanted a program that had full CDs on it. Limewire ran as slow as molasses though, though nobody was sure why. Nevertheless, some people stuck with it, up until recently, as it appears that it is still functional.

Limewire is the girl that shows up to a crowd full of dudes, but doesn't seem to mind. She's nice to the point of being too nice, and people start to suspect she's up to something. But she's drinking like a pro, and is still a pretty nice option for the guys, despite the fact that she's already broken a chair and spilled red wine on the carpet.


Kazaa. Dear God, just typing it brings back chills. Limewire had done a little damage to my computer, but Kazaa didn't even hide the damage. It installed a good handful of harful software, and forced a few resets a day of my trusty old computer. The reason you put it on your computer was that it had an incredible amount of copyrighted material. You could grab thousands of dollars of CDs and movies in an hour. The reason everyone was on it, well... it was a consequence of it being impossible to uninstall and running in the background. It resulted in many a computer, including my own, to be discarded as "old" and "broken," when in fact it was just stupid-ass Kazaa.

Limewire has done a little damage to the party, and Kazaa threatens to ruin the whole thing. A friend of Morpheus, she is hot, and the rumor is that she will do anything with anyone. Guys, girls, midget strippers. Well, of course you fool around with her for a few early on at the party. It's cool until every single one of your friends gains some new perspective and new understanding of the female body, all from her. So you make a mental note to get an STD check, but know that by the time of the check it will be too late.

On a personal note, this reminds me of the time I was at a party in high school, and five guys, myself included, realized we all had spent alone time with the same girl, to varying degrees. We all said a few nostalgic words, then did a cheers to the hilarity of it all.


Audiogalaxy was interesting for a few reasons. One, you had to go through the internet to pick songs. You then clicked some big box on the site next to the song you wanted, and the little applet opened up and promptly and politely placed it on your computer.

Audiogalaxy is like the girl who shows up at the party and doesn't get a glance. She's wearing a ponytail and glasses, and has a boyfriend. Three strikes in many a meathead's mind. However, if you talk to her a little, you'll see that she has some genuinely interesting things to say, and you find yourself satisfied in a way other than carnally. In fact, you find good conversation to be more scarce at a party than good action, which due to basic economic principles, makes it more valuable.

Direct Connect

Direct Connect was something a friend talked about. The premise was Marxist. If you shared, you reaped benefits, if you did not, you were S.O.L. Of course, then people would share a bunch of system files, basically their whole hard drive, including sensitive information, only to be greeted with millions of GB of TV shows like Stargate SG1.

Direct Connect is the guy that shows up with a handful of girls. You think, ah, great, this will even out the party's ratio. But he doesn't introduce you, and seems irritated that they're aren't many people at the party, especially girls. You try to talk to one of the girls, and she says something about not drinking, and says it really really loudly, while she gets shify eyed. He leaves with his stable, and nobody seems to mind.


Ahh, finally we get to the good stuff. Soulseek was another recommendation from a computer programmer friend, and introduced me to a lot of interesting musical outfits, from electronic, to underground rap, and beyond. The knowledge of the users is remarkable, and so of course you were more likely to find Autechre than Green Day on here. Apparently it is still up and running, and if you want to break laws for the both of us, try it out. And let me know what the cool kids are listening to nowadays.

This service was like the girl who walks into the party and causes a hushed silence. Why? Well it probably has to do with the fact that she's got purple hair and is wearing a torn up t-shirt with Basquiat on it. In other words, she's too cool to be hanging out at this party, and seems a little irritated at the lack of style as she chugs her bottle of authentic Russian vodka. Might as well make a play for her, but pretend you aren't that impressed, because she gets that shit daily.

Torrent Sites

Torrents. You've heard of them, but haven't tried. It's where all the serious criminals hang out, and the logical progression of file sharing. You could have every episode of the Simpsons by tomorrow. You can grab a copy of Freakonomics, the new Wyclef CD, and a bunch of games for your cellphone within a few minutes. The possibilities are endless. There are even celebrities within the movement, such as the guy who started the Pirate Bay, and a notorious DVD pirate named aXXo (who has many impersonators, just like a real pirate!). The problem with these stooges is that they don't think they're committing a crime. Cowboy up, men! Really, they actually put out a film talking about the changing culture with the technology. The technology is just an intelligent way circumventing copyright laws. You get tiny pieces from everyone, not just one person. So no one is technically sharing a complete work, just pieces of it. These are the legal issues I look forward to studying, believe it or not.

Torrent sites are the crowd that show up, fill up the party, get everybody dancing, and clog the toilets. Suddenly, after these guys and girls show up, you realize that this may be the best party of your life. The party is getting too awesome though, and you're starting to think that you may get into some legal trouble later in the night. So you just let them all party and have a good laugh, all while preparing your lines to get out of a noise violation.

Part 2 will be forthcoming, as this entry has taken up a good chunk of my day at work already. It'll concern Amazon Unbox and iTunes, my new legal friends.

[Sorry this is long and texty. I was thinking about presenting pictures on this, but I wasn't sure how to handle copyrighted images! Maybe once I talk to my lawyer...]

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