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Peer-to-Peer Risk

Peer-to-peer (P2P) and BitTorrent-type systems have long been dangerous; they're awash with malware of all description. But lately the legal risk is growing.

Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have fought a brave fight protecting their users' usage records for a long time but that is not going to last.

The latest development is, the company behind Dallas Buyer's Club achieved a court victory over iiNet to reveal data on users who contributed to the sharing of the film. See here for more discussion by iiNet.

There is a real risk that many Internet users are about to be asked for compensation for sharing of copyrighted media on their networks, either at home or the office.

How soon this happens, or whether it happens at all, is hard to guess at the moment. But there is no reason to think this dam is not going to burst soon. The legal risk is not going away.

Business owners should have a zero tolerance of P2P systems running on their equipment and using their Internet service. Why should they expose themselves to such legal and malware risk?

With the release in Australia of Netflix and Stan, at very low price-points, and with unmetered data on some providers, local users have vastly more access to content, and it adds to the catalogues of iTunes, Foxtel and so on. Spotify and iTunes Radio provide free access to huge amounts of music.

So while there is room for debate about whether content providers are doing themselves any favours by having complicated and restrictive ways to distribute, say, Game of Thrones, the fact is obtaining this media via unofficial channels has become much riskier.

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