P2P Threats Empirically Unproven, Says FTC
Today didn't bring us the hotly anticipated Grokster decision, but it did bring the FTC Staff Workshop Report on P2P. The workshop, in which EFF participated, considered the consumer protection and competition issues raised by P2P software. As in Grokster, some participants tried to demonize P2P as a uniquely dangerous hazard, exposing consumers inadvertently to data security risks, adware, spyware, viruses, pornography, and more.
But the FTC didn't fall for it, concluding:
"Many of these risks to consumers are not unique to P2P file sharing, but also exist when consumers engage in other Internet-related activities such as surfing websites, downloading software, and using e-mail or instant messaging. Workshop participants submitted little empirical evidence concerning whether the risks arising from P2P file sharing are greater than, equal to, or less than these risks from other Internet-related activities."
Significantly, the report also found, as EFF argued in its comments, that the impact of filesharing on the music industry is unclear.
You can read the whole report here.