June 27, 2005 9:04 AM PDT

Supreme Court rules against file swapping

The Supreme Court has handed movie studios and record labels a sweeping victory against file swapping, ruling that peer-to-peer companies such as Grokster could be held responsible for the copyright piracy on their networks.

In a unanimous decision issued Monday, the nine justices said companies that build businesses with the active intent of encouraging copyright infringement should be held liable for their customers' illegal actions.

"We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement," Justice David Souter wrote in the majority opinion.

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The decision comes as a surprisingly strong victory for copyright companies and stands to reshape an Internet landscape in which file swapping has become commonplace.

The ruling will give the recording industry and Hollywood immediate ammunition to file lawsuits against other file-trading companies. It could also be a boon for legal music services such as Apple Computer's iTunes, which could see their strongest competitor--freely downloadable songs--driven further underground.

It won't immediately shut down access to the trading networks, however. The court's ruling sends the case back to the lower courts, which will review the evidence against Grokster and co-defendant StreamCast in the light of Monday's decision.

Record labels and movie studios immediately hailed the decision as an unambiguous victory.

"The most important message from today's historic decision is that progress and innovation do not have to come at the expense of recording artists, songwriters and the people who make their living in the entertainment industry," Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman said in a statement. "This important decision will allow artists and the creative community to prosper side by side with the technology industry."

The peer-to-peer companies involved warned that the high court had opened the floodgates to litigation against a wide variety of technology companies, but said that they would continue to distribute their software and that they expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

"We are confident that it will be proven that Morpheus does not promote or encourage copyright infringement," said StreamCast Chief Executive Officer Michael Weiss. "We're staying in this for the fight. We're going to continue to innovate and come out with new products."

Cloud over Silicon Valley?
The justices were reviewing a pair of lower-court decisions in which both courts said that file-swapping companies such as Grokster were not liable for the copyright infringement of people using their software. The nation's top court heard oral arguments on the case in late March.

With the potential to rewrite the Supreme Court's 1984 Sony Betamax ruling that made VCRs--and by extension any technology with "substantial noninfringing use"--legal to sell, the decision has been closely watched across Silicon Valley.

Technology companies have feared that a new copyright-focused standard aimed at controlling peer-to-peer networks might result in a rise in lawsuits aimed at blocking new products. The Betamax ruling had protected generations of products, ranging from CD burners to Apple's iPod to personal computers.

 Soaring swapping

In its majority ruling Monday, the court did not make any detailed changes or clarifications to that 1984 decision. However, Souter did write that the Betamax decision had not been meant as a shield for companies that actively induced or encouraged their customers to infringe copyrights. The peer-to-peer companies appeared to fall into that category, he wrote.

"There is no evidence that either company (Grokster or StreamCast) made an effort to filter copyrighted material from users' downloads or otherwise impede the sharing of copyrighted files," Souter wrote. "Each company showed itself to be aiming to satisfy a known source of demand for copyright infringement, the market comprising former Napster users."

Essentially that means the Betamax ruling's protections still will apply in most cases, lawyers said. However, the ruling does dispel the most expansive interpretation of that decision, under which any product with any legal use, no matter how minimal, was viewed as necessarily legal, said Thelen Reid & Priest attorney Michael Elkin.

"I don't think the Sony Betamax decision ever gave a get-out-of-jail-free pass to anyone," Elkin said.

Critics of the ruling said that the court provided no clear standard or test to define inducement, aside from noting several instances in which the peer-to-peer companies appeared to cross the line.

Some in the technology world said the result could lead to more litigation against young companies with new technologies.

special coverage
File-swap fallout
Read all of News.com's stories on the Supreme Court's landmark decision and how it affects companies such as Grokster.
"This is a very dangerous decision for technology and innovation," said Ed Black, chief executive officer of the Computer and Communications Industry Association. "If you think of the Sony decision as a shield or an umbrella, we're afraid some holes have been punctured in that umbrella."

Added Michael Petricone, vice president of technology policy for the Consumer Electronics Association: "It is a real concern for the entire industry. We are faced with competitors in China and India who do not face the same litigation burden that companies will with this decision."

Not everyone in Silicon Valley took a bleak view of the ruling, however. An Intel spokeswoman said the company was still studying the ruling, but noted that the court seemed to have upheld the most important aspects of the Betamax decision.

Changed landscape for digital content?
The decision isn't likely to eliminate file swapping. Many of the most popular services are decentralized enough that they can exist even if a parent company disappears. Many peer-to-peer services also are based outside the United States or have been created by overseas programmers.

U.S. courts have shown their willingness to reach overseas companies in some cases, however. Already, a Los Angeles court has ruled that Kazaa parent Sharman Networks, based in Australia, maintains enough business connections in the United States to be sued in American courts.

If the decision--and subsequent lower court actions--pushes file-swapping services further underground, it can only help companies such as Apple that are selling music and movies online, music service executives said.

"I think the Supreme Court did the right thing, in a lucid way," said Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks. "I think it will make a difference in the long slog to convert the industry over to legitimacy, by not allowing businesses to do this kind of nudge-nudge wink-wink marketing."

Apple, Napster and other digital music services also hailed the ruling as a vindication of their business models.

The decision could also be a boost for companies such as Shawn Fanning's Snocap or Audible Magic, which offer technology for filtering copyrighted files out of peer-to-peer swaps, or turning those swaps into transactions. Today that available filtering technology focuses only on music files, but tools are being developed to identify and block movie downloads.

"To the P2P operators, the LimeWires and the eDonkeys: We want to work with you," said Mitch Bainwol, chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America. "This is time to come forward and start filtering. We can build a better digital age together."

Although the decision technically leaves the file-swapping companies' fate to the lower court, it could hold the seeds of a quick decision in favor of Hollywood and the record labels. Souter's ruling noted that the original trial judge granted summary judgment to Grokster, but said the lower court should instead immediately reconsider the copyright companies' request for summary judgment.

Souter was supported unanimously in his decision by all nine justices, a rare level of agreement on controversial cases. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote one concurring decision that was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy and William Rehnquist. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a second concurrence, joined by Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor.

CNET News.com's Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache contributed to this report.

213 comments

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Add your comment
web browsers just as guilty?
considering that file sharing is essentially what the web is and how it began, doesn't that hold web browsers and its makers like microsoft accountable. file swapping software only made things easier to share as far as searching and faster downloads. yet there is still a considerable amount of copyrighted material available by the web. so will we see charges against big companies or is this just the continued witch hunt for the file swapping companies
Posted by rellirific (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Very astute observation, nt...
.
Posted by (61 comments )
Link Flag
Manufacturers and distributors of knives - beware!
Manufacturers and distributors of knives - beware! if you do not take steps to watch what your customers are doing with your products, you might be liable for their use as weapons!
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Link Flag
web browsers just as guilty?
considering that file sharing is essentially what the web is and how it began, doesn't that hold web browsers and its makers like microsoft accountable. file swapping software only made things easier to share as far as searching and faster downloads. yet there is still a considerable amount of copyrighted material available by the web. so will we see charges against big companies or is this just the continued witch hunt for the file swapping companies
Posted by rellirific (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Very astute observation, nt...
.
Posted by (61 comments )
Link Flag
Manufacturers and distributors of knives - beware!
Manufacturers and distributors of knives - beware! if you do not take steps to watch what your customers are doing with your products, you might be liable for their use as weapons!
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Link Flag
Gone Amok -- Sellout to the largest companies
Last week they rules that Target and Wal-Mart can forcibly evict you from your home and land (paying only previous "market value"), now they have basically recinded the Betamax ruling from 20 years ago.

EVERYTHING in tech can be used to infringe copyright. So next, Adobe and JASC will be sued for copyright infringement cause you can edit existing pictures, then the OS companies because they have a browser that lets you save files from the net via HTTP or FTP because you could copy something infringing.

This court has gone amok. Then they say the 10 commandments cannot be displayed in a court due to separation of church and state. HOWEVER--if you are called to testify, you are FORCED, UNDER LAW and threat of CONTEMPT to "swear to God" on a Bible. Where is the rationale?
Posted by Anon-Y-mous (124 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No longer swear oath on the bible...
You no longer swear to God to tell the truth
when you testify. Today, the judge reminds you
that you ar obligated to tell the truth or face
a charge of perjury.
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
Link Flag
Gone Amok -- Sellout to the largest companies
Last week they rules that Target and Wal-Mart can forcibly evict you from your home and land (paying only previous "market value"), now they have basically recinded the Betamax ruling from 20 years ago.

EVERYTHING in tech can be used to infringe copyright. So next, Adobe and JASC will be sued for copyright infringement cause you can edit existing pictures, then the OS companies because they have a browser that lets you save files from the net via HTTP or FTP because you could copy something infringing.

This court has gone amok. Then they say the 10 commandments cannot be displayed in a court due to separation of church and state. HOWEVER--if you are called to testify, you are FORCED, UNDER LAW and threat of CONTEMPT to "swear to God" on a Bible. Where is the rationale?
Posted by Anon-Y-mous (124 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No longer swear oath on the bible...
You no longer swear to God to tell the truth
when you testify. Today, the judge reminds you
that you ar obligated to tell the truth or face
a charge of perjury.
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
Link Flag
Sony Betamax overturned
This is a sad day.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IT HAS NOT BEEN OVERTURNED.
Has everyone turned stupid all of a sudden?
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Link Flag
Sony Betamax overturned
This is a sad day.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IT HAS NOT BEEN OVERTURNED.
Has everyone turned stupid all of a sudden?
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Link Flag
Isn't this going to be bad for ISP's?
With this ruling, does this not open the door for them to say that ISP's will be help responsible for any actions a user does online?!?!?!?

Are not ISP's 3rd party instruments? A user dials in (or simply connected if you are one of the lucky broadband users out there), and transfers anything, attachments in emails, ftp's, etc. That makes the ISP the middle guy doesn't it?
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NO.
Unless an ISP advertises their service as a way to break the law, this ruling will have no effect upon them.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.inaniloquent.com/PermaLink.aspx?guid=0b881fb6-5ae6-4c6e-b15d-f928ead7dbfd" target="_newWindow">http://www.inaniloquent.com/PermaLink.aspx?guid=0b881fb6-5ae6-4c6e-b15d-f928ead7dbfd</a>
Posted by William Squire (151 comments )
Link Flag
Isn't this going to be bad for ISP's?
With this ruling, does this not open the door for them to say that ISP's will be help responsible for any actions a user does online?!?!?!?

Are not ISP's 3rd party instruments? A user dials in (or simply connected if you are one of the lucky broadband users out there), and transfers anything, attachments in emails, ftp's, etc. That makes the ISP the middle guy doesn't it?
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NO.
Unless an ISP advertises their service as a way to break the law, this ruling will have no effect upon them.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.inaniloquent.com/PermaLink.aspx?guid=0b881fb6-5ae6-4c6e-b15d-f928ead7dbfd" target="_newWindow">http://www.inaniloquent.com/PermaLink.aspx?guid=0b881fb6-5ae6-4c6e-b15d-f928ead7dbfd</a>
Posted by William Squire (151 comments )
Link Flag
Supremies
Pray for the Supreme court, before the ACLU get there hooks into them and say we can't.
Posted by (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Supremies
Pray for the Supreme court, before the ACLU get there hooks into them and say we can't.
Posted by (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sad -- SCOTUS doesn't get it...
By the logic they applied in their decision, all
software qualifies. A good example might be
Windows, which quite specifically advertises
their operatings systems products to be used for
ripping video and music (case in point, they
have a full page ad in the current Wired
advising us that Windows XP is the ideal
platform for ripping music, putting together and
sharing your own mixes).

One could argue that MP3 players rely on an
environment where people make unauthorized
copies of their music collections onto computer
and then the players -- they might even share
the files!

Why aren't ISPs being sued en masse? If you buy
the argument that SCOTUS did and the wording of
their decision, it's only logical that the
telecommunication and cable industries are
selling the key ingredient in infringment (more
so that P2P networks): bandwidth. If you simply
prevented people from accessing the Internet,
you'd simultaneously wipe out 99% of the
infringing activity and stop the service
providers from making a buck on contributing to
that infringement.

I'm not against suing those that acutally that
systematically infringe and make a profit at it,
but now we're all going to suffer a very tedious
and expensive legal morass that, ultimately will
produce nothing but cost to taxpayers and
further alientation of the consumer by the media
industries. Everyone loses.
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sad -- SCOTUS doesn't get it...
By the logic they applied in their decision, all
software qualifies. A good example might be
Windows, which quite specifically advertises
their operatings systems products to be used for
ripping video and music (case in point, they
have a full page ad in the current Wired
advising us that Windows XP is the ideal
platform for ripping music, putting together and
sharing your own mixes).

One could argue that MP3 players rely on an
environment where people make unauthorized
copies of their music collections onto computer
and then the players -- they might even share
the files!

Why aren't ISPs being sued en masse? If you buy
the argument that SCOTUS did and the wording of
their decision, it's only logical that the
telecommunication and cable industries are
selling the key ingredient in infringment (more
so that P2P networks): bandwidth. If you simply
prevented people from accessing the Internet,
you'd simultaneously wipe out 99% of the
infringing activity and stop the service
providers from making a buck on contributing to
that infringement.

I'm not against suing those that acutally that
systematically infringe and make a profit at it,
but now we're all going to suffer a very tedious
and expensive legal morass that, ultimately will
produce nothing but cost to taxpayers and
further alientation of the consumer by the media
industries. Everyone loses.
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Goodbye High-Tech
Say farewell to the high-tech industry. Say goodbye to Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Sun, HP, Dell, Cisco, Seagate, and on and on. You all make products that are used to violate copyrights. Whether it's a document or a photo or a sound file, anyone who owns anything protected by copyright now has the right to sue you till you're wallets are empty. And sue you they will. The courts are about to become inundated with lawsuits against technology providers of all stripes.

But fear not, China is waiting in the wings. China doesn't care about copyrights. As for the US, it is becoming more like the old Soviet Union every day: we have one party, one way of doing things, and now total control of information exchange.

This is a sad day, for it marks the end of the high-tech industry in this country.
Posted by (274 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hello Encrypted Anonymous P2P.
You actually think this is going to stop anything? If anything its going to drive people to get encrypted decentralized P2P up and running even faster. RIAA and MPAA can't sue who they can't find.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Link Flag
Goodbye High-Tech
Say farewell to the high-tech industry. Say goodbye to Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Sun, HP, Dell, Cisco, Seagate, and on and on. You all make products that are used to violate copyrights. Whether it's a document or a photo or a sound file, anyone who owns anything protected by copyright now has the right to sue you till you're wallets are empty. And sue you they will. The courts are about to become inundated with lawsuits against technology providers of all stripes.

But fear not, China is waiting in the wings. China doesn't care about copyrights. As for the US, it is becoming more like the old Soviet Union every day: we have one party, one way of doing things, and now total control of information exchange.

This is a sad day, for it marks the end of the high-tech industry in this country.
Posted by (274 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hello Encrypted Anonymous P2P.
You actually think this is going to stop anything? If anything its going to drive people to get encrypted decentralized P2P up and running even faster. RIAA and MPAA can't sue who they can't find.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Link Flag
Ummmn no
If you had a brain in your head you should realize that first off there is a reason why Supreme Court justices hold their position for life. These guys don't get bribes and if they did there is a reason there are NINE SC justices. Secondly the justices are WELL balanced both from the repub and dem side of things. Third these people are DAMN good at handing down well thought out law. Fourth its call "eminent domain" and Target and Walmart don't have jack **** to say about it. The local government DOES. Now if the local gov is in Wallyworld's pocket that is a different matter.

What you are missing is that this was a full sweep. 9-0 in favor. I really want to read the rulings because there has to be some serious justification as to why EVERYONE sided with MGM.

I would suggest you do the same before you go off half-cocked.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Behold, the only voice of reason
Thank you. People are so quick to jump to conclusions. It's refreshing to read this.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Actually..
"Secondly the justices are WELL balanced both from the repub and dem side of things."

There are 7 Republicans and 2 Democrats. That isn't WELL balanced.
Posted by SteveBarry687 (170 comments )
Link Flag
Ummmn no
If you had a brain in your head you should realize that first off there is a reason why Supreme Court justices hold their position for life. These guys don't get bribes and if they did there is a reason there are NINE SC justices. Secondly the justices are WELL balanced both from the repub and dem side of things. Third these people are DAMN good at handing down well thought out law. Fourth its call "eminent domain" and Target and Walmart don't have jack **** to say about it. The local government DOES. Now if the local gov is in Wallyworld's pocket that is a different matter.

What you are missing is that this was a full sweep. 9-0 in favor. I really want to read the rulings because there has to be some serious justification as to why EVERYONE sided with MGM.

I would suggest you do the same before you go off half-cocked.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Behold, the only voice of reason
Thank you. People are so quick to jump to conclusions. It's refreshing to read this.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Actually..
"Secondly the justices are WELL balanced both from the repub and dem side of things."

There are 7 Republicans and 2 Democrats. That isn't WELL balanced.
Posted by SteveBarry687 (170 comments )
Link Flag
The next big P2P company
I guess the next P2P company and app will likely be either be either Russian, Chinese, or Brazilian.
Posted by alucinor (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The next big P2P company
I guess the next P2P company and app will likely be either be either Russian, Chinese, or Brazilian.
Posted by alucinor (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Over reacting.
Too many people are reading way to much into this.

The SC didnt do much else other than send the issue back to the courts with more specific instructions as to how they should consider the matter. Even then, I see ample wiggle room with which other companies will be able to get around the inevitable lawsuits.

None of this has any direct impact on the users, who are the ones trading the files in question.

The SC actually reaffirmed the Betamax decision as I see it. They were never going to endorse open copyright infringement. Allowing for hardware and software that can be used for infringement, so long as it isnt the sole purpose of its creation, and isnt actively allowed, is about as good as it was going to get.

Once the dust settles, this will be seen as a big deal about nothing.

As for everything else, the SC left ample room for incorporating the ten commandments into court design and displays, just not what some people wanted for reasons that have little to do with free speech.

And as for the eminent domain issue? It gave a wide accommodation but didnt change the ability of people to challenge such moves with ballot initiatives. If it wasnt clear enough as it should have been, the move only ensures more court cases will push their way up to the court for another round in the future.

It is becoming annoying that since it became trendy to do so, everybody on the right side of things is declaring EVERYTHING any court does, as being a sign of an activist court, or the dire need for controls on the court.

It isnt that there are not, or havent ever been activist judges, or situations where the term is accurately applied. But nothing has so totally changed in the last few years to warrant this paranoid banter. People are too trigger happy and not thinking enough.


NWLB
****
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nwlb.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.nwlb.net</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Over reacting.
Too many people are reading way to much into this.

The SC didnt do much else other than send the issue back to the courts with more specific instructions as to how they should consider the matter. Even then, I see ample wiggle room with which other companies will be able to get around the inevitable lawsuits.

None of this has any direct impact on the users, who are the ones trading the files in question.

The SC actually reaffirmed the Betamax decision as I see it. They were never going to endorse open copyright infringement. Allowing for hardware and software that can be used for infringement, so long as it isnt the sole purpose of its creation, and isnt actively allowed, is about as good as it was going to get.

Once the dust settles, this will be seen as a big deal about nothing.

As for everything else, the SC left ample room for incorporating the ten commandments into court design and displays, just not what some people wanted for reasons that have little to do with free speech.

And as for the eminent domain issue? It gave a wide accommodation but didnt change the ability of people to challenge such moves with ballot initiatives. If it wasnt clear enough as it should have been, the move only ensures more court cases will push their way up to the court for another round in the future.

It is becoming annoying that since it became trendy to do so, everybody on the right side of things is declaring EVERYTHING any court does, as being a sign of an activist court, or the dire need for controls on the court.

It isnt that there are not, or havent ever been activist judges, or situations where the term is accurately applied. But nothing has so totally changed in the last few years to warrant this paranoid banter. People are too trigger happy and not thinking enough.


NWLB
****
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nwlb.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.nwlb.net</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right on
As a paying customer, this sounds good to me. I can't believe the
number of thieves out there who feel entitled to their stolen
warez... mind boggling.
Posted by (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hmm..
Well be prepared to pay more for your legally obtained goods in the future since companies can no longer save money on bandwidth by using file swapping networks.

The price of software and media will go up and your cheering?
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
Link Flag
Right on
As a paying customer, this sounds good to me. I can't believe the
number of thieves out there who feel entitled to their stolen
warez... mind boggling.
Posted by (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hmm..
Well be prepared to pay more for your legally obtained goods in the future since companies can no longer save money on bandwidth by using file swapping networks.

The price of software and media will go up and your cheering?
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
Link Flag
Back to the Dark Ages?
Read the opinion:
&lt;<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/27jun20051200/www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-480.pdf" target="_newWindow">http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/27jun20051200/www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-480.pdf</a>&gt;

Seems to me, after reading the ruling, that tapes, TiVo, CDs, DVDs, any type portable storage device which ~copies~ or ~could~ copy something of a copyrighted nature just became illegal if the intent to sell the device is in fact to copy something which could be copyright protected.

Some are writing already that places like iTunes will see a boon because they license the songs. Thats true, they do, but the device itself is non-conforming and I would think the lawyers are drooling right now at the chance to get a dime for every floopy disk, every flash drive, even every iPod made.

Welcome 1905  technology just got tossed back to the industrial age.
Posted by screw you (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Back to the Dark Ages?
Read the opinion:
&lt;<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/27jun20051200/www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-480.pdf" target="_newWindow">http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/27jun20051200/www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-480.pdf</a>&gt;

Seems to me, after reading the ruling, that tapes, TiVo, CDs, DVDs, any type portable storage device which ~copies~ or ~could~ copy something of a copyrighted nature just became illegal if the intent to sell the device is in fact to copy something which could be copyright protected.

Some are writing already that places like iTunes will see a boon because they license the songs. Thats true, they do, but the device itself is non-conforming and I would think the lawyers are drooling right now at the chance to get a dime for every floopy disk, every flash drive, even every iPod made.

Welcome 1905  technology just got tossed back to the industrial age.
Posted by screw you (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I can't believe these reponses!
This is not "goodbye high-tech."
This is not "Sony Betamax overturned."
This is not "sellout to the largest companies."

Please read the ruling:
"We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement,"

This means that someone has to make the software with the CLEAR INTENT of promoting copyright infringement. That is way different then the Sony Betamax ruling which allowed someone to make a copy legally. If I'm not mistaken, it is still legal to make a personal backup copy of a DVD or CD or VHS tape. It is still legal to make a copy of a CD for personal use in your car. It is still legal to record a TV show in order to view it later.

I think it may even be legal to make a copy of a CD for someone else in your household. Does anyone know the specifics of what is legal?

What is not legal is to give away or receive a copyrighted movie, album, or song to people outside your household.
Posted by (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ripping apps == doomed even if legal under "fair use"
The issue is this: Windows and Apple include programs to "RIP" audio discs and advertize it as such. This clearly is "copyright infringement" to the record industry since they don't care about fair use rights and it is openly marketed by the two companies. I would expect 10.5 and Longhorn to no longer allow you to "rip" cd's even though it's legal under old fair use.

Give the media conglomerates an inch and they WILL sue a mile.
Posted by Anon-Y-mous (124 comments )
Link Flag
nope
The DMCA made it illegal to break any encryption, so that means making backups of your movies on DVD is now illegal.

The reason everyone is upset is because fair-use is being eroded to no ones benefit. The stupid media companies think this helps them, but they are too blind and dense to realize they shot off their foot years ago.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
member of household?
I am of the family of man. that makes all people my family.... therefor I can share with anybody...
Posted by (10 comments )
Link Flag
Ignorant Replies, I agree
Contrary to the plethora of unenlightened opinions tossed around in CNets News.com discussion forums, the court did not rule that peer-to-peer (P2P) software was illegal. Nor did it rule that any software that can be used to illegally copy files is illegal. This means that legitimate P2P software, web browsers, instant messaging clients, and other collaboration and communication tools are still perfectly legal.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.inaniloquent.com/PermaLink.aspx?guid=0b881fb6-5ae6-4c6e-b15d-f928ead7dbfd" target="_newWindow">http://www.inaniloquent.com/PermaLink.aspx?guid=0b881fb6-5ae6-4c6e-b15d-f928ead7dbfd</a>
Posted by William Squire (151 comments )
Link Flag
Oh, really?
Maybe you may want to take a look at what the real issue is in this little piece by Larry Lessig, originally published at the current issue of MIT's Tachnology Review publication.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.techreview.com/articles/05/06/issue/feature_people.asp?p=0" target="_newWindow">http://www.techreview.com/articles/05/06/issue/feature_people.asp?p=0</a>
Posted by Mario Nogueira (22 comments )
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