It is now almost five years since Napster invented file sharing and made copyright piracy the most popular crime on the planet.
Even though few people had broadband back then or indeed the knowledge to use the internet for anything other than web access, it's definitely Napster's fault that most of us should really be in jail.
File sharing could be considered the perfect crime. You're almost certainly going to get away with it unless you're stupid enough to write about it in a newspaper.
It is difficult to police too, as the distributed nature of file sharing technology means there is no single server to close down or ring leaders to round up. Occasionally the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) will take a few US school kids to court but that's about it.
And it's a guiltless crime too. The victims are faceless record labels and pop stars so it's not like you're mugging someone's granny - right?
Now that we all have broadband and dozens of Napster type file sharing networks are available it is possible to download just about any music track, movie or software package you want.
The most popular downloading software at the moment it something called BitTorrent. Invented by Ram Cohen, who did it for "fame, not fortune" although you can send him a PayPal donation to show your appreciation if you want.
Find yourself the right BitTorrent 'stream' as they are known and you could probably have a copy of Star Wars episode III on your hard drive within a couple of hours.
More recently the criminal activity has spread to the downloading of television broadcasts too.
So if you missed 'Corrie' last week, done worry, you'll be able to download it from somewhere along with any episode of Dr Who or indeed any sitcom of any note from the last twenty years.
None of which has been officially offered for download by the broadcasters or course. It just that someone somewhere has altruistically recorded the programme to their computer and is offering it to the world.
Judging by the staggering amount of activity, this is a service people obviously want.
Last week Telewest outlined its TV on demand (TVOD) services and promised that all its digital subscribers will have it by 2006.
Lets face it, working out how to use the DVD recorder is even more difficult than learning how to use the video recorder it replaced. And if you can't manage either, you're unlikely to be able to download your favorite shows using BitTorrents too, so TVOD is for you.
However one thing is clear, the concept of TV scheduling and having to record programmes broadcasted at times inconvenient to us, will soon be a thing of the past.
People will soon be able to watch what they want, when they want , with out premeditation and without committing a criminal act.
* Chris is managing director of an internet consultancy. This and other unedited articles can be found at webxpress.com . E-mail email@example.com