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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

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June 25, 2005

How to Read the Supreme Court Ruling in Grokster

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My EFF colleague and StreamCast lead counsel Fred von Lohmann gives his take on how to "read" the Supreme Court's ruling Monday in MGM v. Grokster (Grokster Reader's Guide):


It's not about P2P. The P2P genie is irreversibly out of the bottle, with the software already installed on hundreds of millions of computers and developers in countries beyond the reach of American laws. It's the rest of America's innovation sector that will be living with the Supreme Court's ruling. So, as you read what they have to say, ask how it will affect not just Apple, HP, and Intel, but also the next "genius in a garage," like Sling Media or the kids developing urban vehicular grid technology.

That's only the opener. As we are wont to say in the blogosphere, read the whole thing.

Comments (7) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations


COMMENTS

1. Brad Hutchings on June 25, 2005 11:23 PM writes...

I don't get it Donna. I thought that if Grokster lost any of this case, that our iPods would be illegal. That's what the EFF has been saying for months. Why change tunes now unless the EFF was just being ridiculous? Please explain.

Permalink to Comment

2. Donna on June 26, 2005 3:26 PM writes...

That's sounds like a ridiculous oversimplification.

What part of Fred's guide are you responding to, and what point are you trying to make?

Permalink to Comment

3. Brad Hutchings on June 27, 2005 1:27 AM writes...

Hmmm... Endangered devices? Wasn't that an EFF publicity effort? You remember. Come on, I wasn't imagining it, was I? If Grokster lost, then iPods and a host of other popular, useful tech artifacts would be illegal.

So Monday, it looks to me like the biggest loser will be the EFF. Grokster will be found liable under a new test that clarifies Betamax, by looking at the business model of Grokster and concluding that it benefited directly and proportionally to substantial widescale end-user infringement. iPods will not be illegal. Nor will DVD recorders or graphite pencils. And questions will be raised about whether the EFF jumped the shark on this endgangered devices campaign. Seriously, the EFF might as well have been Mark Garagos defending Scott Peterson.

Really, post-Grokster, why should anyone take the EFF seriosuly?

Permalink to Comment

4. Branko Collin on June 27, 2005 7:21 AM writes...

"Come on, I wasn't imagining it, was I?"

I think you were. Considering that Donna asked for a reference, and you are unwilling to provide it, one must assume you are trolling.

"Grokster will be found liable under a new test that clarifies Betamax, by looking at the business model of Grokster and concluding that it benefited directly and proportionally to substantial widescale end-user infringement."

ITYM "overturns". The initial use of the VCR was solely an infringing use. This unlike Grokster, which has possible non-infringing uses.

Permalink to Comment

5. Brad Hutchings on June 27, 2005 8:42 AM writes...

Here's your reference. Scroll down to the iPod section and note that they suggest that a Grokster decision that doesn't go their way could make the iPod illegal. My post is no more a "troll" than this (now referenced) piece of work is.

It's kinda like last week's episode with the phantom Broadcast Flag bill. At some point, an organization like the EFF loses credibility for crying wolf. Under the intellectual veneer, it looks like the EFF is basically about providing cover so kids can share songs with 100,000 of their closest friends. If that's what the EFF is about, fine, just be honest about it, so the rest of us can evaluate accordingly.

Permalink to Comment

6. Branko Collin on June 27, 2005 11:43 AM writes...

Thanks for the link, Brad.

To quote from that page (emphasis mine):
"In the last congressional term, entertainment industry lobbyists nearly succeeded in persuading Congress to pass the Induce Act -- a radical rewrite of copyright law that aims to make creators of new technologies liable for "inducing" copyright infringement. If that was the law back in the early 1980s, the VCR would have been killed in infancy -- and if the Induce Act or something like it passes this year, we'll never know what future innovations will never see the light of day. Complicating matters even further is the Supreme Court's pending review of MGM v. Grokster, the result of which could be a similarly radical rewrite of the rules for copyright liability."

In other words, EFF was referring to the Induce Act, which never passed. There is also a mention of Grokster: if SCOTUS overturned Grokster, that could have similar consequences as when the Induce act would have passed.

What you said, that EFF claimed that if Grokster is overturned, our iPods are illegal, is an incorrect according to the text you linked to.

Permalink to Comment

7. Lily on July 4, 2005 9:08 PM writes...


First effects of Grokster

http://www.cs.princeton.edu/courses/archive/spring05/cos491/writing/ says:

'Heres the first change that Ive seen due to the Grokster decision. Bonpoo is a service that lets you send large files to other people. It used to be general-purpose; you could send anything to your friends. Now, post-Grokster, they only let you send photos:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: At bonpoo we are constantly testing file transfers services that help people send legal files across the Internet. Given the recent Supreme Court decision we have suspended our free file transfer services except for photos. We apologize for any incovience. Please check out our professional product HeavyMail for an alternative to our prior service.'

By the way, Bonpoo's website is http://www.bonpoo.com and HeavyMail's website is http://www.heavymail.com

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