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Gaim Filesharing on Slashdot

Well, the Gaim Filesharing Plugin was just posted on slashdot and we’ve seen a mix of positive and concerned comments in the thread. Here are a few quick responses to some of the main concerns:

1. Will a p2p plug-in put Gaim at risk of lawsuit? No. This will be packaged as either an optional plugin, available separately from Gaim and hosted on a separate website, or as a separate program. Either way, it will be clearly independent from the main Gaim development. Furthermore, courts have clearly ruled that filesharing software itself is legal (see this comment), even though certain uses may not be. As for the general health of Gaim, we hope that this will bring in many new users and help chip away at the AOL monopoly of IM.

2. Shouldn’t IM and p2p remain separate? There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to securely share files with their friends. Since IM is the dominant means by which people have real-time contact on the internet, it’s a logical foundation for secure filesharing. Darknets that use a separate program and a separate buddy list will never get the rates of adoption that would be possible with integrating standard IM. That said, the work that’s gone into darknets should be the foundation for this project and the easiest way of solving this may be to add Gaim chat support and interface to existing darknet programs.

3. Isn’t broad-scale p2p better? Open, global p2p is better in a lot of ways– more files, more sources for downloads, etc. However, anonymous p2p in that style still has a long way to go and this is a relatively simple way to offer anonymity in the short term (see this comment). In addition, there’s something great about sharing with your actual friends, the same way that reading a friend’s blog has special meaning, even if they aren’t the biggest and most comprehensive.

Above all, and this is something we mention on our description page, it is crucial to support and protect filesharing against the current onslaught of the RIAA and MPAA– not because we want people to get Hollywood’s stuff for free, but because the real promise of the technology is to let people create and share their own music and movies. That’s the most exciting part of all of this, and it’s also the most serious long term threat to the current entertainment industry. And if they can scare people away from p2p, it’s puts that potential at risk.

The search for the lead programmer continues– please be in touch (also be in touch if you just want to be on the dev list, but don’t have time to lead the project). We’re also open to name suggestions. Contact labs|at|downhillbattle.org.

P.S. If you like /. for tech news, you might like The Regular for politics news in a /. format.

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