Thiessen’s argument calls to mind the music industry’s effort to shut down Napstera Web site where recorded music could be traded and downloaded without regard to copyrightin the nineteen-nineties, in that it loses sight of the broader technological and cultural revolution that the Internet has brought to the exchange of information. In 2001, after a lengthy legal battle, the Recording Industry Association of America succeeded in forcing Napster offline, only to watch Napster’s services move to a number of other Web sites that were structured in a more decentralized way (pdf)making the piracy of music even more diffuse and difficult to prosecute. Only recently has the industry grudgingly been adapting to file-sharing rather than fruitlessly seeking to eliminate it, and one can now find music executives who even speak of Napster as a lost opportunity for their industry.
Shutting WikiLeaks downassuming that this is even possiblewould only lead to copycat sites devised by innovators who would make their services even more difficult to curtail.
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