Monday, April 4, 2005

As if the pictures weren't bad enough, there is footage of the seal you can judge for yourselves how 'humane' the clubbing is...
For those of us who enjoy P2P, File-sharing...getting audio and video from sources like Morpheus, Kazaa, Limewire, Grokster and so on...the MGM v. Grokster case now at the Supreme court should be interesting to follow.
The result of the case could change the way you get music and video and the way that amateur and non-industry artists get their music 'out there'...
The lower court (2003) and the ninth circuit court of appeals (2004) both decided that the makers of Morpheus and Grokster could not be held liable for the illegal ways that their product could be used.
This result did not please big-business players from the music industry. They have taken the case all the way to the Supreme court.
What the big guys want to do is reverse the decision on Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios 1984.
The Sony case, also known as the Betamax case, was a decision that none of us can imagine having gone another way. If the 1984 Betamax case had turned out differently it would have been illegal to make video tape recorders and we would never have been able to spend our lives taping shows from tv, making music mixes, and doing a host of other things we take for granted.
In 1984 Universal sued Sony for creating the Betamax recorder. Universal said that since the recorder could be used to infringe upon copyright, then Sony should be held responsible.
The Supreme court thought otherwise.
Their decision pointed out that since the recorder had fair-use applications then the possibility that it could be used illegaly was not a strong enough reason to outlaw it or to hold Sony responsible.
Fair use includes personal use and the ability to 'time- shift' which means that you tape something for personal use so that you can watch it at a more convenient time.
Illegal use includes making copies and selling them or making copies that would infringe upon the sales and the income generation of the artists and copyright owners, meaning that it could replace the sale of the original.
Now if they happen to reverse the Betamax case and the Supreme court rules that P2P technology is illegal, then we can expect an end to the type of file-sharing we have been enjoying for the past few years. But it won't be long before talented techies find a loophole (like the post-Napster family of file-swappers) and create a legal alternative. It would also mean that Asia and other parts of the world would take the lead in thise type of technology soon, since the US would be a no go zone.
Bloggers following the Grokster trial and blogging live from the Supreme court.
Electronic Frontier Foundation all the documents relating to the case.

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