Long Arm of the Law Reaches New Internet (RIAA, Internet-2, i2hub Lawsuit)

Have you heard of the new Internet? It's called Internet 2 and this time they're not fooling around. The Abilene Network , begun in 1999 provides the main backbone and they're a pure optical network wired for speed.

According to their website, (on the plain old regular Internet) "The Abilene Network, which currently connects over three million users, 220 research and education institutions, and 34 state education networks, operates at a speed 15,000 times faster than the average household broadband connection and with a capacity to send 9.7 million five-paragraph e-mails in one second."

This means we're soon going to get nuclear powered spam!

Everyone knows speed is addictive. Not only for Indy 500 racecar drivers, but also for computer science mega-geeks who will one day finally rule the world. They're shooting for speeds in the Terabyte range; that's a trillion bits of information every second.

"We now wish to be called "Tera-geeks, you puny sub-creatures!"

"Do I need all that speed for my email?" one might ask. You do if you're attaching astrophysics, fusion energy computations, and bioinformatics with your message. The present Internet can't handle this kind of math. But will Internet 2 be used only for noble purposes? I haven't heard of any holographic lap dances yet, but some people are definitely not happy with what Internet 2 users are doing.

Like the beginning of the first Internet in the 70's and 80's, Internet 2 is the domain of universities and research organizations for the purpose of advancing the aspirations and higher thinking of humanity. University students are already benefiting from the technology by illegally downloading movies and music at warp speed. A full-length movie only takes five minutes to download on the Internet 2 instead of an hour or more by cable modem. Songs come at a pithy twenty seconds.

"Not so fast!" says the record and movie industry. They're nipping this one in the bud. The RIAA announced that it's suing 405 individual students for copyright infringement violations using the "i2hub". The movie industry is suing an undisclosed number of students as well. What's i2hub? It's like a Napster on crack. But you need to use it on Internet 2 to really fly - and that's not open to the general public yet.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, there were 7070 users sharing 99.2 TB of files in one recent snapshot of time. "Ninety-nine terabytes is enough storage space to hold all the movies that are available in a local Blockbuster store, yet people are swapping those movies entirely free," said an outraged and very frustrated Dan Glickman, President of the MPAA.

The RIAA will sue a handful of students per university to plant the seeds of fear widely. UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, & the University of Southern California are among the 18 Universities where students are being served papers.

Can they stuff the electronic genie back in the bottle? If they can't, the RIAA and MPAA are not going down easy. Imagine 405 students calling home telling Mom & Dad to be ready to put up the house because they thought the Internet 2 was a private network and they just wanted to fill up the iPod they were given for Christmas. The highest offenders, according to the RIAA, were caught with up to 13,600 MP3's, and 72,700 total files (such as audio, software and video).

"Son, what were you thinking, I've got "Planet of the Apes" at home!

Rick David writes a humor column called, "Don't Laugh It Could Happen To You" for http://sandiego.merchantamerica.com

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