States Send Warning Letters to P2P Companies

Rhett Pardon
NEW YORK — Attorneys general from 47 U.S. states and territories have united in an effort to crack down on peer-to-peer sites that allow file-trading.

The attorneys general are sending letters out to the Internet companies, stating that they must re-engineer software to prevent illegal file-trading.

Legal enforcement actions against P2P users don't "excuse your companies from avoiding software design changes that deliberately prevent law enforcement in our states from prosecuting P2P users for violations of the law," the letter said.

The letter calls for companies to warn users about the amount of pornography, including child porn, traded through sites like Kazaa, Lime Wire, Morpheus and Grokster.

"P2P users need to be made aware that they are exposing themselves, and their children, to widespread availability of pornographic material when they download and install P2P file-sharing programs on their computers," the letter said.

The attorneys general also accuse P2P software of hurting local economies by encouraging illegal file trading.

“More needs to be done by your companies to warn your P2P users as to the specific legal and personal risks they face when they use P2P technology for the illegal ends of disseminating pornography and 'sharing' copyrighted music, movies and software," the letter said.

The letter was signed by the top legal czars from all but five states — Alaska, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Wyoming — and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

New York-based Lime Wire LLC, in a statement, said it would provide additional warnings to its users "as appropriate." But the P2P company said it won’t add filters or remove encryption.