A professor of computer science at Princeton University has written the world's smallest peer-to-peer file sharing system to demonstrate the futility of trying to ban the technology.
The application, written by Edward Felten in just 15 lines of code in the Python programming language, will not work on a large scale like Kazaa, but can form small P2P networks which can then be interlinked. The code can be seen here.
"My goal in creating this program is not to facilitate copyright infringement," said Felten. "The program is useful mainly as a proof of concept. P2P apps can be very simple, and any moderately skilled programmer can write one, so attempts to ban their creation would be fruitless."
In 2001 Felten hit the headlines when he was threatened with legal action by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The RIAA had designed new watermarking technologies under its Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) and invited hackers to try and break it. Felten proved that the technologies were fundamentally flawed.
However, before Felten could present the research he was forced to withdraw after threats were made against him and his employers. SDMI was withdrawn shortly afterwards.
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