Software doesn’t steal, people steal

Maybe my ire is up from the Gillmor article, but I can't help but respond to this sentiment I came across on Ev's site today. In regards to Kazaa Evan writes, "the software is designed to steal things." That logic just smacks of Hollywood's alarmist language and approach to technology.

Kazaa isn't designed to steal things. It doesn't go into your house and take your DVD player. It doesn't connect to an online bank and funnel funds to an off-shore account in the Cayman Islands. Kazaa connects two computers and allows people to transfer files between them. An FTP client does nearly the same thing. If Kazaa is transfering files that people have illegally placed online, the fault does not lie with Kazaa (or Napster, or LimeWire). It lies with the individuals who placed property online without appropriate permission. And it lies with individuals who download files without ascertaining whether they have the right to do so. It is possible for P2P software to be used in a legitimate fashion, for example if a muscian wants to put all her music online, or a video artist wishes to share his work with a wider audience.

Is Blogger designed to steal because people can publish copyrighted (not their copyright) material to the Web? No, of course not. An individual makes the decision to respect copyright laws. Blaming software leads down the slippery slope to controls on technology, controls that limit our digital rights and legitimate uses of software and hardware. Let's not give in to the scare-mongering language used by the Jack Valentis of the world.

Now, Kazaa redirecting affiliate links? That's just plain obnoxious, and a lot closer to stealing than anything else to date.