[news=http://www.slyck.com/newspics/donkover.gif]Today, the Senate Judiciary committee will conduct a hearing in which Sam Yagan, the president of MetaMachine, will testify. The hearing, "Protecting Copyright and Innovation in a Post-Grokster World", will explore intellectual property issues in the event the entire P2P community uninstalls their Grokster and/or file-sharing clients.
Yet Sam Yagan, the president of MetaMachine will make a few serious concessions at today's 9:30 AM hearing. No, MetaMachine is not closing down, however the applied mathematics major and graduate of Harvard and Stamford universities will concede to the RIAA's demands.
The RIAA, an organization that represents over 90% of all record labels and all four major record labels, began a letter writing campaign on the 13th of this month. In the letter, which was sent to most of the major P2P developers, the RIAA demanded they cease the encouragement of copyright infringement or face litigation.
"We demand that you immediately cease-and-desist from enabling and inducing the infringement of RIAA member sound recordings. If you wish to discuss pre-litigation resolution of these claims against you, please contact us immediately."
The cease and desist letters were also suspected of being sent to MetaMachine, BearShare, WinMX, LimeWire and Ares Galaxy. Developers have established their own methods of dealing with the issue, however none have publicly announced such method. That is until MetaMachine’s Sam Yagan.
In Sam’s testimonial notes released today, Mr. Yagan preambles his testimony by announcing his company’s response to the RIAA’s demands.
‘I'd like to make it clear to the Committee that we have replied to the RIAA's cease-and-desist letter and I have personally committed to Mr. Sherman - which I reiterate today - that we are in the process of complying with their request.”
The June 26th Supreme Court decision emboldened the copyright industry to further pressure file-sharing and P2P developers to comply with their vision of intellectual property law. Right or wrong, most commercial file-sharing companies simply do not have the resources to fight financially resourceful movie or movie industry.
“…I am not here as an active participant in the future of P2P, but rather as one who has thrown in his towel and with no interest in replaying past issues…
Sam comments on several points of the Grokster case, including perhaps most important aspect of intent. According to the Supreme Court, any potential infringer that shows “intent” to induce copyright violations may be held liable.
“The Grokster standard requires divining a company's "intent," the decision was essentially a call to litigate. This is critical because most startup companies just don't have very much money. Whereas I could have managed to pay for a summary judgment hearing under Betamax, I simply couldn't afford the protracted litigation needed to prove my case in court under Grokster. Without that financial ability, exiting the business was our only option despite my confidence that we never induced infringement and that we would have prevailed under the Grokster standard.”
In addition to other arguments, Sam also brings up several other important points, such as stifling innovation, and the transfer of technology over seas. Indeed, the RIAA and MPAA action to thwart commercial P2P developers may turn against them as open source and foreign-based file-sharing / P2P networks may eventually make additional enforcement actions irrelevant.