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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

« Open Access Denied | Main | MGM v. Grokster -- What Happened? »

June 27, 2005

Supreme Court Reverses Grokster -- Unanimously

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SCOTUS Blog brings the news that the Supreme Court has "ruled unanimously that developers of software violate federal copyright law when they provide computer users with the means to share music and movie files downloaded from the Internet."

More details -- including the ruling -- forthcoming.

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations


COMMENTS

1. Lucas on June 27, 2005 11:14 AM writes...

According to CNN, they overturned the ruling and kicked it back to a lower court. So on the up side, it's not over.

But then again on the down side, it's not over.

Permalink to Comment

2. George Janczyn on June 27, 2005 11:53 AM writes...

I guess this means the developers of our e-mail clients will also be subject to lawsuits? After all, e-mail can and is frequently used to share files with others...legally or otherwise. And, what about FTP?

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3. Dr. wex on June 27, 2005 12:33 PM writes...

On a deeper reading this is not nearly as bad as it could have been. There's going to be a lot of doom and gloom writing for a bit, but in the end the Cartel may end up regretting this one almost as much as if Grokster had been shielded. I'll try to write up some of my thoughts later this week when the initial dust has settled.

Permalink to Comment

4. Sheik on June 27, 2005 12:41 PM writes...

Please read the ruling. The point they make is the Ninth Court said "Hey! Sony says technology can't be liable! WHEEE You're free", so they say "Well, hey now, if the business plan of the developer is to infringe, then , welll, hell yeah, that's infringing!"

The ruling specifically says numerous times there is a balance between innovation and copyright protection, and states the Ninth court went too far against copyright. It says a P2P is not automatically infringing, it's the actions and evidence of the developer behind the P2P. In this case, there is significant evidence to suggest that Grokster and Streamcast had motives of capturing Napster's user base -- i.e., free copyrighted music downloading people -- and that Grokster went so far as to help people find copyrighted works and to send newsletters suggesting copyrighted works to download. Yeow.

Developers will be fine. Developers who at least act against the idea of using their software illegally will be fine. Developers who build products specifically looking to infringe will not. Move on.

Permalink to Comment

5. Branko Collin on June 27, 2005 5:15 PM writes...

I still don't understand how this does not overturn the Betamax decision. Sony built a machine that could only infringe on copyrights. The judges in that case may not have said it explicitly, but by allowing the VCR to be sold (and advertized) they sure agreed implicitly that you are allowed to build an infringement device.

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