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Thread: Record Industry Loses Bid To Shutdown Grokster

  1. #1
    By Andy Sullivan

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal court denied a request to shut down Internet song-swapping services Grokster and Morpheus on Friday, handing a stunning setback to the record labels and movie studios that have sought to curb unauthorized downloading of their works.

    U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson said the two services should not be shut down because they cannot control what is traded over their systems. Like a videocassette recorder, the software in question could be used for legitimate purposes as well as illicit ones, he said.

    "It is undisputed that there are substantial noninfringing uses for (the) Defendants' software," wrote Wilson, who serves in Los Angeles.

    A recording-industry trade group involved in the case said it would appeal.

    Wilson's decision marks the first significant legal setback for the entertainment industry in its battle against the wildly popular "peer-to-peer" services that allow users to download movies, music and other files for free.

    Federal courts have ordered earlier peer-to-peer services such as Napster (news - web sites) to shut down, and courts have so far supported the industry's efforts to track down individual peer-to-peer users, as well.

    But Wilson's ruling gives Grokster, Morpheus and other Napster successors some legal basis on which to operate. Just as the Supreme Court in 1984 said videocassette recorders should not be outlawed because they can be used for legitimate purposes, peer-to-peer services should not be shut down even though users are certainly trading copyrighted movies and music, he said.

    Grokster President Wayne Rosso said he was surprised by the decision because it showed that the judge understood the technology. Peer-to-peer services could be used to enable the Pentagon (news - web sites) to better share information, among other uses, he said, and the recording industry should try to work with such services rather than driving them out of business.

    "Grokster doesn't and hasn't ever condoned copyright infringement," Rosso said. "We hope this sends a clear signal to the rights owners in this case to come to the table and sit down with us."

    The Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) said it was disappointed with the decision.

    "Businesses that intentionally facilitate massive piracy should not be able to evade responsibility for their actions," RIAA CEO Hilary Rosen said in a statement.

    Rosen highlighted two portions of the 34-page decision she found favorable: first, that individuals are accountable for copyright violations; and second, Wilson's statement that Grokster and Morpheus "may have intentionally structured their businesses to avoid secondary liability for copyright infringement, while benefiting financially from the illicit draw of their wares."

    The Motion Picture Association of America, whose movie-studio members also filed suit, had no immediate comment.

    The decision could also provide a shot in the arm to Kazaa, another popular peer-to-peer service involved in a separate legal battle with the entertainment industry. A Kazaa spokeswoman said the company's lawyers were still evaluating the decision.

    A Morpheus investor, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Silicon Valley, said the decision would give his product a boost just as the company plans to roll out a new version.

    "The timing of this couldn't be better," said Bill Kallman, a managing partner at Timberline Venture Partners, which has invested about $4 million in Morpheus since 1999.

    RIAA members include AOL Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Music; Vivendi Universal's Universal Music; Sony Corp (news - web sites).'s Sony Music; Bertelsmann AG (news - web sites)'s BMG Music Group; and EMI Group Plc (news - web sites)..

    MPAA members include Walt Disney Co.; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.;Paramount Pictures Corp.; News Corp Ltd.'s Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.; Vivendi Universal's Universal Studios Inc.; and AOL Time Warner's Warner Bros.

    (Additional reporting by Ben Berkowitz in Los Angeles and Eric Auchard in Santa Clara, California)

    Hahahaha. Suck it record industry jackoffs. Suck it long, hard and deep ya bastards. Isn't it interesting that there was actually a Supreme Court case over vcr's in 1984 of all years? Also talk about your conflcits of interest. Aol being in both mpaa and riaa knowing full well p2p is what will save them from profit loses with their broadband service?

  2. File Sharing   -   #2
    just one word on this subject: woohoo!

  3. File Sharing   -   #3
    Horray! Finally a JUDGE with lots of insight and real BALLS!

  4. File Sharing   -   #4
    More information can be found here


  5. File Sharing   -   #5
    Skillian's Avatar T H F C f a n BT Rep: +1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    A federal judge in Los Angeles has handed a stunning court victory to file-swapping services Streamcast Networks and Grokster, dismissing much of the record industry and movie studios' lawsuit against the two companies.
    By John Borland
    Staff Writer, CNET
    April 25, 2003, 12:46 PM PT

    Full article here.

    I'm not really sure if this will mean anything in reality, legal opinions on this subject seem to chop and change constantly, but it's nice to hear some good news for a change.

  6. File Sharing   -   #6
    Rat Faced's Avatar Broken
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Hey, a judge that isnt senile.......

    Thats almost unheard of

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  7. File Sharing   -   #7
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Celebrate while possible...

    there WILL be an appeal.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  8. File Sharing   -   #8
    Anyone got his address, I want to send him a free copy of KL (haha).

  9. File Sharing   -   #9
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Oh, please...
    Originally posted by clocker@26 April 2003 - 11:45
    Celebrate while possible...

    there WILL be an appeal.
    True, True.
    I'll read up later-hope it's something to build on.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  10. File Sharing   -   #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    nobody is sure yet. will update
    Policy, "as well as history, supports our consistent deference to Congress when major technological innovations alter the market for copyrighted materials," Wilson wrote. "Congress has the constitutional authority and the institutional ability to accommodate fully the raised permutations of competing interests that are inevitably implicated by such new technology...Additional legislative guidance may be well-counseled."
    So there will be an appeal but that will take a while to resolve.

    Wilsons' comments in delivering his judgement cited in other articles, from the little I read of other excerpts of the case, shows he has a grasp of not only the technological issues but also turned his mind to other implications.

    There seems to be a consensus of opinion amongst US Attornies, even those who don't condone filesharing that the Verizon appeal raises much more important considerations that they seem to be predominant in their officially expressed opinions although I might be misreading them.

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