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That genie is long gone…

No court will shut down piracy.

Two stories on our site today underscore the fundamental lack of understanding about Net culture. The whole idea of shutting down Napster or forcing it to use some sort of filtering mechanism to limit piracy is based on a mistaken assumption. The fact is, there is no way to keep pirates from stealing data. All you can do is hope to deter them enough to reduce the practice of piracy.

The first story deals with Napster’s attempt to restrict access to certain files from artists who have been particularly vocal in their opposition to free downloads–Metallica and Dr. Dre. Napster used some simple filtering technology to prevent such downloads, which were quickly subverted by linguistic slights of hand.

The idea of blocking access to certain tracks is comically naïve. Napster could change its filtering formulas daily and still not prevent access to unlawful copies of files. Napster knows this. Still, as another

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