Org launches resource center to help parents

WASHINGTON — Under political pressure from Congress and the recording industry to clean up their act, online peer-to-peer music swapping sites have formed an Internet resource center to combat child porn.

The Recording Industry Assn. of America is locked in a legal battle with the file-sharing networks they hold responsible for widespread online music piracy, a practice draining the industry of billions of dollars in sales each year. Earlier this year, the RIAA and several prominent lawmakers attacked the sites for promoting child porn because pornographic material is also traded on peer-to-peer sites such as Kazaa, Grokster and Morpheus.

Formed own trade group

The file-swapping networks have since formed their own trade group, P2Punited, and Wednesday unveiled a link on its Web site devoted to helping parents and others understand and manage the risks to children of using the Internet and peer-to-peer technology.

The sites came under fire at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing five weeks ago and vowed to do something to combat the porn problem. The group has even given the link a catchy moniker. The “Parent 2 Parent” Resource Center provides a link to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Web site, where individuals can report suspicious behavior related to Internet porn. The center forwards the information to the FBI.

“The producers and consumers of this damaging and disgusting material should be behind bars, and we urge every member of the public — here and abroad — to click on to www.p2punited.org and turn in legitimately suspected child pornographers,” said P2P United exec director Adam Eisgrau.

The actual file-sharing sites, however, do not have a link to the resource center, although Eisgrau pledges to make that happen in the next few weeks.

“We have responded quickly to the Senate’s request, and we plan to make that happen just as quickly,” he said.

RIAA skeptical

The RIAA remains skeptical about how much impact the resource center will have.

“This is a pretty feeble and half-hearted attempt to alert parents to the glut of unwanted pornography — including child pornography — on peer-to-peer networks,” an RIAA spokesman told Daily Variety. “There are many questions — for example, will the P2P networks themselves follow through and prominently advise users or parents about the ready availability of obscene pornography and what steps can be taken to stop a child’s exposure to it?”

Eisgrau characterizes the move as a good-faith first step. “P2P United’s members firmly believe that we all have to do whatever we can to help the police find the animals who prey on our children so they can be put in cages where they belong,” he said. “This is just the first of many steps by a new industry toward that critical goal.”

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