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The Honorable Patrick Leahy
United States Senator
Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy
Peer-to-peer technology has revolutionized the way people share all sorts of information. But as with any technology, it can be abused, and unfortunately, it has been. And as with any technology, those who abuse it effectively prevent that technology from reaching its highest potential. More than two years ago, the Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on peer-to-peer, beginning an important dialogue with many relevant communities about copyright issues in the peer-to-peer context. I have always been a champion of innovation, and have long deplored the fact that a few rogue peer-to-peer companies have hijacked the enormous potential of this technology.
We should all remember that it is people - people using technology - who infringe copyrights. Technology itself is not the problem, and neither is technology alone the solution. Our goal must be the responsible use of technology, and the respectful treatment of intellectual property rights. Our technologies may evolve, but the central principles of respect for rights and promotion of innovation should remain constant. The balance between these is critical to maintaining our nation's status as the world leader in intellectual property. We have all heard a great deal about peer-to-peer networks; now we are hearing more about webcasting and satellite radio. We all want consumers to enjoy the great diversity of music available, and we must ensure that they do so legally.
I thank the witnesses who are here to herald a new beginning in the world of online music, and I look forward to hearing how they see that world.