This is a little off the topic of security per se, but I though this was a good wake up call for parents of kids who might be sharing their CD collection online with their friends:
A federal judge in Boston today formally signed off on a $675,000 fine that a jury assessed against Boston University doctoral student Joel Tenenbaum for illegally sharing 30 copyrighted songs. (“Update: Judge affirms $675k verdict in RIAA music piracy case”, ComputerWorld.com, 12/8/09)
Just think about it, that comes out to $22,500 per song shared! And that doesn’t even include the cost of defending the suit. If you get sued and settle, the cost comes down to about $3000-5000 per song shared. What a discount!
Of course, kids don’t think about such things as copyright laws and legal judgments. But as parents, we risk being liable for the actions of our children, so it behooves us to be aware of such activity if it is occurring.
If your child has a computer or access to the family computer, you should periodically check for file sharing applications such as LimeWire, Kazaa, Shareazaa, BitTorrent, etc. These applications are most often used for sharing illegal or pirated copies of software, music or videos. If you find such applications (assuming you didn’t install them yourself), you may want to have a talk with your child about what he/she is using them for.
As a side issue, the applications listed above are notorious for downloading viruses along with the pirated media. Some also allow your computer to be used as a storage site for other users, who may decide to store their inappropriate or even illegal material on your computer instead of theirs.