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Old 06-27-2005, 01:34 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Supreme Court Rules Against Grokster

Slashdot is reporting that the Supreme Court has ruled...
Quote:
"One who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright ... is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties using the device, regardless of the device's lawful uses." The promotion is the key part of that statement.
What this means is practical terms is not obvious to me as I need someone more knowledgable to interpret. But as a novice podering the topic, it seems clear that any information relating to activities not clearly legal will not come from any source associated with a P2P service!

Also of interest would be what consequences this would have on software like Fair Use Wizard or DVD Decrypter (already hit by legal issues) or DVD Shrink, etc. In fact, even signal enhancement devices used to stabalize a signal from a VHS tape might be dependent on a ruling.

I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot about the fallout over the next few days.

For now, here are a couple of early articles that I plan to read myself as soon as I get a few minutes...
San Francisco Chronicle Article
EFF Article

If you have any good links or discussions about this case and the fallout (especially those with nice summaries and easy to read for the lay person) please post them as replies here so we can continue to learn what this all means.
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Old 06-27-2005, 02:40 PM   #2
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The main problem with the ruling, is that now any software that has internet sharing will have to add copyright protection or something, too much work for most software developers just to please a few big fat executives with the entertainment industry...

So does this mean software like bittorent will have to be rewritten or taken down? Bittorrent may be notorious for it being used by audio/video file traders but it was not written for that purpose...things like podcast could be traded there and many podcasters don't have the money to get big servers/bandwidth.

And doesn't the SC decision contradict the Betamax case, If so, then the Betamax precedent is now effectively obsolete?

In the end, this is just adding another roadblock to innovation.... and would hamper the US technology industry more than it helps the entertainment industry. Like the Stem-Cell ban in the Us, now Korea and other country is way ahead of the US.

These things (Grokster, etc) won't go away with the ruling anyway...they will just migrate to Russia or some other country where copyright protection are more lax. And since this thing is already in the wild, how do they shut it down? Closing Grokster will have no effect since there's no central server like Napster. Some other rogue website will probably still host the Program even if Grokster goes down...

I have no love lost for pirates (or Grokster) but the law is making it hard for common consumers like us. How about Wifi enabled devices, they can be used to share illicit files too, don't they?

Last edited by gadgetguru; 06-27-2005 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 06-28-2005, 01:16 AM   #3
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My take on it is that if a P2P company full out advertises sharing copywritten files or plays the Sgt Schultz act by saying "I see nutting!!" they will be libel.

I have a feeling that other P2P services will consult with lawyers and start putting legal disclaimers about not sharing copywritten material. It would be argued that all traffic would be impossible to monitor so the disclaimer may be all that is required.
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