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Old 08-20-2004, 04:09 AM
da BaSsTaRd! da BaSsTaRd! is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: NYC
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Default OT: goliath 0, david 1

the movie businees is now moving into the business of stupidity.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The makers of two leading file-sharing programs are not legally liable for the songs, movies and other copyright works swapped online by their users, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday in a stinging blow to the entertainment industry.

Among other reasons, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc., unlike the original Napster, were not responsible because they don't have central servers pointing users to copyright material.

"In the context of this case, the software design is of great import," Judge Sidney R. Thomas wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel, which upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed the bulk of the lawsuit brought by movie studios and music labels.

The panel noted that the software firms simply provide software that lets individual users to share information over the Internet, regardless of whether that shared information was copyrighted.

"The technology has numerous other uses, significantly reducing the distribution costs of public domain and permissively shared art and speech, as well as reducing the centralized control of that distribution," Thomas wrote.

The entertainment industry could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We are carefully reviewing our next steps," said Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. In a statement, he pledged to "pursue all avenues in our power to fight those who illicitly profit from our members' valuable property."

A ruling against the file-sharing services could have made them unavailable for legitimate uses, analogous to banning VCRs to watch a school play because they could also record and play copyright TV shows.

Civil libertarians had also warned that a defeat for Grokster and StreamCast could have forced technology companies such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to delay or kill innovative products that give consumers more control.

Thursday's ruling puts additional pressure on the entertainment industry to take the more costly and less popular route of going directly after online file-swappers. Recording companies already have sued more than 3,400 such users; at least 600 of the cases were eventually settled for roughly $3,000 each.

The decision came nearly two weeks after attorneys general from 45 states sent letters to Grokster, Streamcast and five other file-sharing services, hinting at possible legal consequences if the networks don't better inform computer users about potential copyright violations from sharing files.

Napster was shut down after the 9th Circuit ruled that its centralized servers, which contained directories to thousands of copyright songs, made it legally liable for contributing to copyright infringement.

But in the wake of that ruling, peer-to-peer technology developed that avoided the need for a central hub, arguably limiting the liability of the companies involved.

Laurence Pulgram, an intellectual property attorney, called it "a big win not just for peer-to-peer companies but for technology companies that push the envelop and make available copyrighted information."

Fred von Lohmann, who represented Los Angeles-based StreamCast, said the ruling follows "the same principle that people who make crowbars are not responsible for the robberies that may be committed with those crowbars."

Thursday's ruling could influence a separate ongoing entertainment industry case against Sharman Networks Ltd., makers of the Kazaa file-swapping program, which averages more users than any other file-sharing software.

In a different case, the maker of iMesh file-sharing software recently agreed to pay $4.1 million to the recording industry for copyright infringement and to prevent consumers from illegally distributing music or downloading songs.

Thursday's ruling makes it less likely another company would similarly settle.

Mitch Bainwol, chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America, said the decision raises questions of whether "digital music will be enjoyed in a fashion that supports the creative process or one that robs it of its future."

The lower court ruling upheld on Thursday had cited the U.S. Supreme Court's 1984 decision in the Sony Betamax case. The court said then that Sony wasn't liable when people used its Betamax videocassette recorder to copy movies illegally because the technology had significant uses that did not violate copyrights.

The studios and labels argued that while Sony could not control how consumers used their VCRs, Grokster and StreamCast could filter their systems, like they do with computer viruses.

Thomas, the appeals court judge, said agreeing with the entertainment industry's demands would be unwise and in conflict with binding precedent.

"History has shown that time and market forces often provide equilibrium in balancing interests, whether the new technology be a player piano, a copier, a tape recorder, a video recorder, a personal computer, a karaoke machine, or an MP3 player," Thomas wrote.


The case is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, 03-55894.
i love my apple iPhone!
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Old 08-20-2004, 02:52 PM
nikki-k nikki-k is offline
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Hobette Alley
Posts: 2,357
Default Re: OT: goliath 0, david 1

Which all just reinforces one simple fact:
You can't trust a human

nikki k
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
On the other hand, you have different fingers.
Originally Posted by nikki-k View Post
Sometimes ya just gotta put your tongue on the 9V battery just to see what all the fuss is about.
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Old 08-20-2004, 04:10 PM
pk_hat pk_hat is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: grimy Brooklyn
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Default Re: OT: goliath 0, david 1

the movie businees is now moving into the business of stupidity.

I think it moved there quite a while ago, DB.
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