When Sharing Goes Wrong.

The upshot of the Washington Post's revelation that a copy of the House's ethics committee's weekly status report was found floating around on a peer-to-peer file-sharing network is that (a) we suddenly know the names of a few more members of Congress on whom Zoe Lofgren's committee has its sights and (b) the prospects for passing legislation restricting file-sharing software have probably just gotten somewhat rosier.

Efforts to get file-sharing software companies like LimeWire and Kazaa to put warning labels on their software have bounced around the Hill for what must be six years now, during which time you may well have moved onto iTunes and forgotten that file-sharing networks exist. A version sponsored by Mary Bono (R-CA) just passed out of committee last week that would dictate that P2P software companies put extensive warnings in their products on the risks they pose. The Recording Industry of America and the Motion Picture Association of America have, as an extension of the copyright wars, nudged Congress, gently and otherwise, to crack down on P2P, on the grounds that when users open up their hard drives to share music and movies, they risk exposing all sorts of sensitive documents. Copyright can be marginalized as an industry interest. But national security is everyone's problem, and every so often something the government doesn't want public pops up on one of these networks, like details about presidential safe-houses. It's probably realistic to expect that this episode -- the unintended exposure of the some of the most sensitive files from one of the Hill's most secretive committees -- is going to make a nice exhibit when Congress next turns its attention to the menace of file sharing.

And with that, my time here is down. It has been a real thrill guest blogging here at TAPPED this week, and as a faithful TAPPED reader I look forward to reading the pinch bloggers lined up next. Catch you around the Internet.

--Nancy Scola

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