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Supreme Court; latest P2P ruling

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posted on Jun, 29 2005 @ 07:23 AM
The USA's Supreme Court has just given it's latest ruling on the P2P case

Overturning the judgments of the lower courts, in a test case the Supreme Court found that Grokster had deliberately planned to infringe the copyright of material owned by MGM for the movie industry.

At issue was whether the landmark case of Sony vs Universal Studios could be extended to companies marketing and facilitating file sharing. In the Sony case, which concerned whether VCRs were tools to infringe copyright, it was held by the Court to have 'other uses' such as recording programmes to view later. Therefore it was decided that while the device could be used to avoid copyright, it has 'other uses' which outweighed the illegal ones.

- The music and film industry have been quick to get their spin on this carried by the mainstream media but a closer look at what has been said is interesting.

One has to wonder if those same companies (Sony for instance) are also liable given that their CD/DVD writing components going into computers are the very things doing the (apparantly illegal) copying!

Streamast CEO Michael Weiss spoke to P2Pnet

the media seems to have totally mischaracterized the decision as a loss for us and a win for the entertainment industry.

p2pnet: Just after the decision came down, StreamCast general counsel, Matthew Neco, said, "In every instance where some product might possibly be used for copyright infringement, the copyright holder can now sue and weigh down innovation with expensive, time and resource consuming discovery and trials."

Will the labels now try to simply crush companies such as yours by using their financial and legal weight to overwhelm them with lawsuits?

Weiss: Suing technology companies into submission has been the strategy of the entertainment industry for many, many years now. They thought they'd have an easy win over us, but instead they lost at the US District Federal Court. They then thought they'd have a slam-dunk against us in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. They lost again - unanimously. They hoped the Supreme Court would reverse the decision and shut us down. But that didn't happen either.

p2pnet: Are there other legal recourses open to you?

Weiss: We will have our day in court - actually many days in court - to prove we don't induce copyright infringement from our users. There could be the possibility where this case even ends up back at the Supreme Court one day in the future.

- How do folks feel about this issue?

Personally I think the record industry and film industry have been flying kites over this issue for years.

The rounds of individuals being taken to court and fined thousands for downloading and copying music and films (solely for personal use) is, IMO, a grossly outrageous over-reaction more suited to a totalitarian state.

Thank God for enlightened countries like Sweden and shame on legislators in the USA and UK for accepting the idiotic lie that, were it not for illegal copying, the industry (and to a lesser extent they might just remember to mention the artist) would have made a sale and that therefore this is some sort of loss of revenue or 'theft'.

Who remembers the old 'stop home taping, it's killing music' emblazoned on every record sleeve?

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