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March 22, 2005
CIS Event: Cyberlaw in the Supreme Court
Lauren Gelman sends word of "Cyberlaw in the Supreme Court," an
Grokster-night event that nicely frames what's at stake in the Grokster and "Brand X" cases, both of which will be heard before the Court only one week from today:
On March 29, 2005, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases that together will greatly determine how government can and will regulate the Internet in the future, and the impact that the public interest will have on the development of cyberlaw over the next decade.
In MGM v. Grokster, the Court will decide whether copyright holders can veto consumer electronics and computing innovations that upset the content industries' prevailing business models, even where the technology's non-infringing uses provide substantial benefits to consumers. The question is whether consumer demand for new and better products will drive technological development, or copyright owners' demand for control will retard it.
In Brand X v. FCC, the Court will decide whether the FCC should retain the option to regulate cable modem services to promote open access to broadband lines, universal service and network neutrality, as it did in the early days of the Internet when most people connected over common-carrier telephone lines. The question is whether tomorrow's communications services will be defined by citizen choices or by the business interests of a handful of cable broadband companies.
Bonus: Michael Madison's On Grokster and Brand X
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