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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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Copyfight

« And Now, a Word from the Grokster Defense | Main | Susan Crawford: The Supremes Got Grokster Just Right »

June 27, 2005

EFF on the Supreme Court Grokster Ruling

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EFF has now issued a press release on the ruling; here, the meat:


Today the Supreme Court issued a ruling that could impede makers of all kinds of technologies with expensive lawsuits. The long-awaited decision in MGM v. Grokster states that P2P software manufacturers can be held liable for the infringing activities of people who use their software. This decision relies on a new theory of copyright liability that measures whether manufacturers created their wares with the "intent" of inducing consumers to infringe. It means that inventors and entrepreneurs will not only bear the costs of bringing new products to market, but also the costs of lawsuits if consumers start using their products for illegal purposes.

"Today the Supreme Court has unleashed a new era of legal uncertainty on America's innovators," said Fred von Lohmann, EFF's senior intellectual property attorney. "The newly announced inducement theory of copyright liability will fuel a new generation of entertainment industry lawsuits against technology companies. Perhaps more important, the threat of legal costs may lead technology companies to modify their products to please Hollywood instead of consumers."

The Supreme Court has also ordered the lower court to consider whether peer-to-peer companies Grokster and StreamCast can be held liable under the new standard. StreamCast is confident that it will pass muster under the new, multi-pronged test.

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations


COMMENTS

1. Randy Charles Morin on June 27, 2005 2:23 PM writes...

link is 404

Permalink to Comment

2. jbw on June 27, 2005 2:36 PM writes...

Does this mean that someone can now bring a suit against the producers of, say, assault rifles, since they're clearly used for illegal purposes _somewhere_?

Permalink to Comment

3. D Man on June 27, 2005 2:44 PM writes...

This means the automobile industry can now be sued if someone uses it's product to kill a person. Look out big three.

Permalink to Comment

4. Randy Charles Morin on June 27, 2005 4:37 PM writes...

No, this does not imply assault rifle and automobile manufacturers are liable for anything. Automobiles are not built to kill people and have seat belts to prevent death. Grokster was built to swap copyrighted material and there's no code in Grokster to prevent it. That's where the line was drawn.

Permalink to Comment

5. Branko Collin on June 27, 2005 5:28 PM writes...

Swapping copyrighted material is not illegal. Swapping copyrighted material for which you have no permission to swap is illegal.

Guns are not being sold so that people can use them to rise up against government; that would be a legal use. But it would be naïve to think that that is why people buy guns; guns are sold for all the illegal uses that people have in mind with them.

Permalink to Comment

6. Randy Charles Morin on June 27, 2005 6:05 PM writes...

Branko, There's already lots of safeguards in place to prevent the sale of guns to the public. I mean, you'd have to vote for Bush, which makes you look like an idiot. That should be enough to discourage gun sales, but somehow it's not working. I don't understand :)

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