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June 28, 2005 at 9:13 am #4298
Well as the title says, the Supreme Court in the US has sent a portion of MGM v. Grokster back to a lower court and in the process overruled the infamous “Betamax Precident” set back in 1984. It basically sets a new precedent for ANY technology manufacturer to be sued because it’s devices can be used for copyright infringement, unfortuantely the usual legal mumbojumbo is clouding the issue with lawyers for Grokster and Streamcase predicting a ” flurry of litigation in order to clarify what they called a confusing and murky decision about how to define when a technology is inducing copyright infringement.”
What surprises me the most is this comment from the Judge however…
Although the [P2P] technology can be used for lawful exchanges of digital files, that is not how Grokster and StreamCast use it. They run businesses that abuse the technology. At least 90 percent of the material on their services is infringing, and that infringement occurs millions of times each day.[/quote:6b2ce548cc]
The point he missed is that these companies dont “use” the network like this, its the users who upload and store these illegal files. While the legal are is indeed murky I’m pretty sure all of us can admit to using our VCR or DVD-Recorder to either record a film on TV or copy existing media…does that now mean they too are in the firing line.
While the Judge tried to differenciate between the two, his explanation..
We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement…[/quote:6b2ce548cc]
Doesnt really do much does it? What other reason is there for a Record button on VCR/DVD-R machines?
June 28, 2005 at 2:01 pm #22583
I read the case over lunch and the implications for it potentially go far beyond p2p to affect all copyright owners – including gaming companies obviously.
In one emergency briefing email I got today (of a number) the decision was stated as having:
“profound implications for copyright owners, technology companies and software developers. In what has been billed as ‘the most important case of the internet age’ the Supreme Court found that file sharing services could be found liable for distributing software that permits illegal file sharing. However the Court also held that to be liable the file sharing software distributors would have to be proved to have the intent to encourage illegal file sharing.”
Some of the IT law email lists and discussion lists are very active with academics trying to come to terms with the implications across a range of US precedents. The tests applied seem to me to very difficult to apply in practice to determine what side of the line into which certain activies will fall – fairly subjective tests in my view. Of course that will make it harder for companies operating in the US to apply them.
Sure its keeping us sad IT lawyers entertained of an afternoon anyway ( :wink: :lol: ) – but there will be plenty more about this. The decision is confined to the US of course, but the US’ sphere of influence in such matters extends beyond its borders.
June 28, 2005 at 2:06 pm #22584
Might be a good idea to move this into the “business and legal” forum?
June 29, 2005 at 7:27 am #22594
June 30, 2005 at 1:33 pm #22652
WEll the RIAA certainly doesnt waste any time…
Mitch Bainwol, chairman and chief executive of the RIAA, which represents the US recording industry, said the ruling “provided a real shot in the arm to legitimate online music services and unanimously injected moral clarity into this debate.”[/quote:b9e0bac8ab]
July 4, 2005 at 8:51 am #22726
BitTorrent programmer Bram Cohen may be in legal jeopardy after the discovery on Wednesday of an old agenda buried on his website saying he creates programs to “commit digital piracy.”[/quote:383421625b]
However it seems that the MMPA arent too worried about BitTorrent judging by some of their spokesmans comments…I wonder will the RIAA react the same? :?
July 4, 2005 at 8:56 am #22727
I’d hazard that if that’s all the evidence the MPAA/RIAA had to go to bat with in Court, and attempt to avail of the brand-spanking-new MGM v. Grokster case law, they’d be laughed out the place.
Moreover, I’m pretty sure a fair few post-prod studios & render farms use BitTorrent to exchange data, so it’d be a case of…you know…pot…kettle..black ‘n all that :wink:
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