Monday, June 27, 2005

Grokster Loses

The US Supreme Court has ruled against Grokster, inc.
Associated Press

07:45 AM Jun. 27, 2005 PT

Internet file-sharing services will be held responsible if they intend for their customers to use software primarily to swap songs and movies illegally, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, rejecting warnings that the lawsuits will stunt growth of cool tech gadgets such as the next iPod.

The unanimous decision sends the case back to lower court, which had ruled in favor of file-sharing services Grokster and StreamCast Networks on the grounds that the companies couldn't be sued. The justices said there was enough evidence of unlawful intent for the case to go to trial.
God, that's going to be a nightmare. This decision rests entirely on the "intent" of the corporation that's releasing the software. Well, sorry, but the largest abettor of music piracy has got to be Apple "Rip, Mix, Burn" Computers. Between the iPod and that company's early advocacy of CD burning, Apple has played a huge role in helping people violate copyright, and (with the iPod) giving them a reason to.

Meanwhile, Kazaa remains incorporated outside of US jurisdiction, and thus beyond the reach of this decision.

And, as Cory Doctorow has said, these decisions and laws and lawsuits actually do nothing to stop p2p software - this is incredibly simple code to write, and between bittorrent and the gnutella clients out there, it's open sourced and pretty much impossible to stop now. The Supreme Court may reject "warnings that the lawsuits will stunt growth of cool tech gadgets such as the next iPod", but I actually think that tech firms are going to be the only people hurt by this ruling. Filesharing is going to continue, one way or the other. The only people that this ruling will stop are companies who, either because of lawsuits or the fear of lawsuits, don't invent the next iPod or Tivo.

Oh, and I'd be willing to bet that Bittorrent gives it's web-search program a second thought, now.

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