"And so far, we've just been playing. The flap over Napster
is merely the toy of public opinion wound up and released -- a
plastic duck quacking its way through the mainstream media. It's
right! It's wrong! The millennium has come! The end is nigh! But
who cares? Most of this "debate" is looking backward, trying
to salvage constructs that no longer matter. Whose property is
intellect? Whose right the right to copy what has gone before?
Human culture has always been the work of thieves, beginning with
Prometheus. Kill Napster today, get the fire next time."
"While the music industry wrings its hands over profits lost
from catchy tunes it ensnared in the twentieth-century equivalent
of bad-faith treaties with native tribes, the Net is already
dreaming about arts and music and literatures not yet composed.
About how they will travel, whose eyes and ears, whose hearts they
will arrive at. Business made an unholy pact with technology, and
thought it had found the keys to the kingdom. But unlocking the
gates, it imported a Trojan horse into the city of commerce. Within
the code is a deeper code that business does not understand."
"Ian Clarke, on the other hand, does understand that code. A
twenty-five-year-old Irish programmer, Clarke has been thrust into
the Napster limelight because of a program he wrote called Freenet.
Like the name implies, Freenet is all about making, and keeping,
information free. It's a distributed file-sharing network, where
all users are completely anonymous and there's no central
distribution server -- which means no master list of users, no one
to sue, and no way to shut it down. Clarke has been asked about the
decoy duck numerous times, but he has more to say on a wider range
of issues than that debate has so far touched on. I spoke with him
via phone from his London office. We talked about free speech,
piracy, copyright, version control, distributed caching, and an
exceedingly cool plan to automatically generate topical directories
based on use. Watch this guy and what he's up to. If information
wants to be free, it just got its wish."