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Media headlines about child porn on Napster, Gnutella scream YHBT!!!

By yankeehack in MLP
Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 10:51:10 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Another flagrant example of the media using alarmist, misleading headlines about controversial subject matter to attract readers.


Today while reading the CNN homepage, the headline German Police suspect child porn on Napster, Gunutella disturbed me not only because of the controversial subject matter at hand.

Of course, when seeing the headline, I was in parent mode and clicked on the hyperlink. The article is about a German police investigation involving possible child porn and illegal softare being traded on Napster, Gnutella and other peer to peer file sharing networks. In response to the media inquiries, Napster put out a press release (paraphrased here) "only MP3 files and Windows Media files are found on the service, anything else is a violation of the terms of service".

So, three questions arise from this article. First, for those of you who use Napster, is this true? Second, do you think the negative PR about the possible child porn especially will hurt Napster, Gnutella, and the others? (Is it RIAA's fantasy come true?) Third, how do we make the media accountable for such misleading headlines?

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Media headlines about child porn on Napster, Gnutella scream YHBT!!! | 15 comments (10 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
On Gnutella, unfortunantly... (4.00 / 3) (#1)
by Electric Angst on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:35:03 PM EST

Well, all you really have to do is enter the search strings 'lolita' or 'preteen' on gnutella and see the unfortunante results. It's on there, and this will probably be some seriously bad PR.

Then again, the exact same thing happened to the web three years ago, and it was able to move beyond the hype. (Then again, e-commerce really helped with this...)

--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
3 Answers (4.62 / 8) (#3)
by AmberEyes on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:42:36 PM EST

First, yes, you can find stuff like that on Napster. Check out Wrapster sometime - the software sticks a real looking mp3 header on files you want to share (such as your child porn, illegal software, or whatever the current target of the german government is today), and voila, you have archives that can be traded over Napster. To find them, search for stuff that uses Wrapster's preset bitrate and frequency. Pretty easy.

Secondly, I can't see it hurting them too much. IMO, people are starting to get tired of the whole "let's get Napster" thing anymore (even more so because of Shawn's recent "Look at me in a nice suit, I'm just trying to run a business, make them all leave me alone, it's the users fault not ours" standpoint). And, since Napster still, I figure, is mainly used for trading music, why do I care if kiddie porn is on it? I'm not looking for it after all...

Thirdly, I dunno. Media likes sensationalism, and new technology seems to be a constant target since the general public isn't knowledgable about it enough yet to be able to say "hey, that's just not true!". I suppose instead of trying to make media accountable for it, we should put effort into checking up on stuff and finding out the facts for ourselves. Sucks to have to do that, but what are you going to tell the news? To stop reporting things that end up making them money?

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
kiddie porn (4.00 / 5) (#5)
by Delirium on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 05:44:25 PM EST

Well, it's probably bad PR, but it really doesn't change anything. It's the standard "save the children" bullshit. Opening everyone's mail would cut down on child porn too, so let's go ahead and do that.

On a similar note, the Misanthropic Bitch makes a pretty good case for why child pornography should not be illegal - sure it's video of a crime, but so is film of people being raped, killed, etc., which is released all the time (often by police departments, such as the recent infamous Littleton, CO police tape). Why is video of this particular crime illegal, while video of other crimes is ok? It seems this illegality is just being used as a tool to push for greater censorship.

You are severely missing the point (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by jynx on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 05:48:38 PM EST


Child pornography is illegal because if it were legal the demand for it would increase.

Wherever there is demand for something, someone can make a profit by producing it. Legalising these images certainly increase the incidence of these crimes.

Although I consider myself anti-censorship, I fail to see any reason why people should be allowed to view images of acts which are universally considered wrong.

I have no problem with people viewing pictures or videos containing consenting adults, but why should we allow pictures and videos depicting the (effective) destruction of innocent lives?

--

[ Parent ]

Not true (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by kagaku_ninja on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 07:26:54 PM EST

Read the link of the previous poster. There are several types of "child porn", most of it is illegal in the US, as I understand things.

  • Pictures of adults designed to create the appearance of child porn
  • Drawings (comics and/or animation) of "minors" having sex (it is completely subjective trying to determine the "age" of a fictional character)
  • Legal porn produced in other countries where the age of consent is lower than in the US
  • Consensual sex involving minors (the real problem is that it is difficult to determine whether the minors voluntarily consented to the act, so I can understand this being illegal. Still, there is a difference between abuse and exploitation)


  • Supposedly pictures of kids nude in public are legal, but I wouldn't want them on my HD when the FBI comes knocking...

    My favorite anecdote was once watching a pr0n anime video. In the intro, the main character introduces herself, saying (in Japanese): "My name is so-and-so, I'm 15!". The subtitles changed the 15 into 18, thus making the video "legal"

    While it is important to stamp out child abuse, anti child porn laws are overly broad, and create a category of thought-crime that has ruined the lives of many law-abiding adults.

    [ Parent ]
    Straight up propaganda (4.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Wah on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 05:55:40 PM EST

    From the mouth of the beast TW/AOL. And I think this is the more damning link, because it lends CNNs "good" name to this tripe

    1st: Yea, there's a good chance some idiots are doing this. You can trade any file on any number of p2p services. Porn is Gnutella, but you would probably be accurate in saying Porn is the Internet. It seems people think about sex quite a bit.

    2nd: You're damn straight it'll hurt 'em. You mentioned it yourself when you said you were in "parent mode". By associating p2p with pr0n you gain a valuable ally, the soccer moms of the world, in the fight against it.

    3rd: Post to a web board where everyone who already knows this stuff will read it. Or more proactively, talk to your family and friends about it. Write to them, put up a page, make noise, etc. You'll probably need an amplifier of some sort, try a bunch of things see what works.

    I guess the thing that finally set me off on this article was the quote "Linux Music could not be immediately reached for comment." This was after the article said, in paraphrase "gnutella is great for kiddie porn." They also step around Napster's EULA defense by saying that "though its search engine still turns up such files." With such meaning in reality movies files of any soft, but with a quick reading, such comes off as "kiddie porn".

    And I think it unethical for major media outlets to not make readers aware of current legal movements against the companies they cover. Maybe there's a good reason why they shouldn't, but smear campaigns like this are a good reason why they should.
    --
    Fail to Obey?

    A bit more, from the same source (4.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Wah on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 11:07:50 PM EST

    2nd: We need the soccer moms on our side. I think the way to do this is to push the idea of large media conglomerates are pushing their wares on children of all ages. Let me be clear, I think p2p technologies will be able to supplant traditional media sources, but only if they can do it legally. One of the advantages of this type of media distribution model is that it is "pull" rather than "push", an important distinction. If you can convince moms that every episode of Barney, Teletubbies, etc, is available to retrieve from these systems, when they want to, and without commercial intervention, then maybe they will come over. This won't stop johnny from firing up gnutella and seeing sylvia saints latest adventures, but at least she'll know where they came from. She can blame the puller rather than the pusher.

    Most are as scared of the commercialization as the boobies, in my experience.

    3rd: Talk to people. When people ask me "What I do" one of my responses is usually something along the lines of "online activism, ya know, napster and what not." This opens the door to questions and allows the most effective kind of media to take place, person to person. Live and in color.
    --
    Fail to Obey?
    [ Parent ]

    YHBT (in response to an editorial comment) (3.00 / 1) (#11)
    by fluffy grue on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 11:22:50 PM EST

    There was an editorial comment about this, and interestingly enough even I only found out what this means recently (from a segfault story, of all the places), so here goes:

    You Have Been Trolled. You Have Lost. Have A Nice Day.

    (YHBT. YHL. HAND.)
    --
    "Is not a quine" is not a quine.
    I have a master's degree in science!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]

    Child Porn can be spread on AOL too (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by hoss10 on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 07:10:00 PM EST

    'Nuff said

    You *can* put files on Napster that are not MP3s (none / 0) (#15)
    by MoonJihad on Wed Jan 17, 2001 at 03:06:59 PM EST

    But you can't legally. You can use Wrapster, a freeware program that allows you to turn files into a 'valid' MP3 that will pass Napster filecheck(no you can't rename the file to .MP3). Or you can use a patch to remove Napster's internal filecheck.

    -MoonJihad

    Media headlines about child porn on Napster, Gnutella scream YHBT!!! | 15 comments (10 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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