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We're in a race to get this done. Think about how you felt when they started suing people. Now think how you're going to feel when they send somebody to jail. We have to stop this from happening. We need two things to get this software made: a fast, skilled lead developer and money to pay her or him. We want to offer a $500 bounty to the programmer that can do this. Help us:
1. Give Money
The sooner you give, the sooner the software will exist for you and everyone else. We are taking donations via PayPal and 100% of what you give will go directly to the programmer(s). Downhill Battle has a solid track record of getting projects out the door, and we are going to make this happen. UPDATE: We've raised much more than our goal-- thanks to everyone who pitched in! To get this done quickly, we might break up the money into some sub-bounties-- you can still donate for this purpose. More details soon.
2. Program It
If you are a programmer and know that you have the time and ability to do this quickly, please send an email to labs|at|downhillbattle.org. Briefly tell us your experience and why you would be a good choice for this project.
The resulting software will be free and open-source, released under the GPL. We will make a sourceforge page and developer mailing list for this project very shortly. Downhill Battle is also in the midst of developing a simplified Bit Torrent client called Blog Torrent. A beta for developers could be released in the next few days.
Jail for filesharers is ridiculous. We need to stop it.
The lawsuits aren't enough. The major record labels are literally trying to send people to prison for sharing music, and a new bill in Congress right now would let them. We can't let that happen-- it is a completely, utterly, unacceptable political tactic. We've written a detailed write-up for a simple, new approach to filesharing that could make the major labels' tactics useless. It would let you search, browse, and share files with your friends in your IM program. It would be simple, natural, and completely secure from outside snooping.
Share with friends of friends
Your friends aren't the RIAA. Their friends aren't the RIAA. But just sharing in this small circle you're sharing with hundreds of people. With this software there would be no need to worry about security, so everyone could share their entire library.
Downloads are direct, fast
Anonymous networks like MUTE or Freenet work by passing files around from user to user. The problem is, this gets really slow. But when you're sharing with people you trust, all downloads can happen directly.
Invite friends right from your buddy list
If trusted filesharing isn't integrated with IM, it's just not going to work. Who wants to have to manually exchange IP addresses or encryption keys? Our plan builds trusted filesharing into the ad-free chat client Gaim. That way-- whether you use AIM, MSN, Yahoo, or Jabber--when you start up the first time, all your buddies are right there, and you can invite them into the network.
Secure filesharing for everyone
Making a program that only geeks can use won't cut it. The goal, after all, is to keep people out of jail. What's great about integrating filesharing into an IM client is that the interface will be familiar and non-threatening to everyone. And the interface itself explains the security advantages of the program in simple terms: you share with friends.
We propose an extension to the Gaim chat client that lets users do gnutella-style search & download filesharing, where search requests propagate out to trusted buddies, buddies of buddies, etc. This approach has serveral advantages. First, people will be more altruistic sharing with friends and won't be as worried about RIAA/MPAA lawsuits. At the same time, because they can share with friends-of-friends, and friends-of-friends-of-friends, they'll often be searching a very huge library. This software will be just as simple as an IM client, and it will be easy for people to invite friends (so it spreads virally). No other piece of filesharing software is this well positioned to become hugely popular with the average, not-so-knowledgeable, Windows user. As a bonus, it will convert many users to using the open-source and ad-free client Gaim--a good thing in itself. The immediate goal is creating a working version that is extremely simple but very modular and easy to modify or expand upon.
Here are some of the many advantages that come out of this project:
Probably the best way to do this is for all buddies to determine their own IP addresses and then send them to each other, and handle all the searching outside of the IM network.
The IM interface is super-familiar to tons of people. The simpler we can make this, the less intimidating the program will be.
As you can see, we've added filesharing functionality without increasing the complexity of the interface.
The software urges people to not invite buddies that they did not know on a medium-term, face-to-face basis. You could also allow certain people to share your files without letting their friends share your files.
update checker - software will prompt user to update it when new versions are available so users won't get stuck with an insecure or broken version.
Integration with IM will make it extremely easy for this software to spread in popularity.
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