Home > BCS, social > Watching the Social Networks

Watching the Social Networks

Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are fast becoming the target of copyright holders seeking to identify and punish any infringers found in these places. This has many implications for privacy, and the question is at what point does copyright infringement investigations become an invasion of privacy?

According to a Wired magazine article, copyright holders have begun monitoring major social networking destinations in addition to their usual targets of file sharing and P2P networks. Also it is not just the music industry complainant, but even car manufacturers like Volkswagen have got in on the act.

The mechanism used by the copyright holder is to issue a subpoena, (that seeks to identify the culprit), to the hosting site and/or ISP. The response varies depending on the ISP or host’s policies, but the effect is that the offending content is often removed, and the owner’s identity may also be supplied to the copyright owner for possible litigation. Scary thought indeed.

Even scarier is the prospect that newer networking destinations like Yahoo’s Mash, which allows users to permit friends to ‘mash’ their profiles, will effectively make it possible for you to get sued for someone else’s funny pranks. Unless, of course, there is some sort of user activity which can help nail the real culprit.

The ‘big brotherness’ of it all is simply amazing. Will there really be anything like privacy in the future? I’d like to get your opinion on this so send in those comments.

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