Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Analysis: What the ruling against Grokster really means

Filed under
Legal

As this morning's 55-page US Supreme Court decision in MGM v. Grokster has now had time to be fully disseminated and analyzed, consensus is taking shape that even peer-to-peer services not named in the lawsuit may find themselves in legal hot water very soon. By vacating a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and remanding the case back to that circuit, legal analysts told Tom's Hardware Guide, the high court may have made fuzzy what was once a clear interpretation of fair use law: specifically, the matter of secondary copyright infringement liability.

In short, states the syllabus, it may be impossible to sue millions of infringing downloaders, so a plaintiff's only alternative may be to argue that the software manufacturer contributed to those millions of alleged infringements by encouraging them, promoting them, or simply by doing nothing to stop them.

But the Court stopped short of finding Grokster and Streamcast, respectively, guilty of infringement, leaving that for the lower court to determine. "I think this puts emphasis on lower courts looking at the intent of the parties putting forth the software and the system

The Court basically issued a very vague and somewhat schizophrenic ruling about exactly what companies in the digital media space can and can't do." On the one hand, stated Schultz, the Court states that a P2P proprietor cannot encourage infringement; but on the other hand, the decision leaves it to others--perhaps the lower court--to determine what such encouragement entails.

"We're getting into shades of subjectivity, stated P2P United's Eisgrau, "that may well stretch the credulity [of courts] and the ability of courts to deal with. For a technology-driven economy, what you want is an environment in which innovators feel safe to innovate, and investors feel safe to invest in innovators. This opinion today, regrettably, is scary because it swapped that universe of relative certainty for a brave and alarming new world in which there is no such assurance and, in fact, quite the contrary, now I think the watchword for inventors has to be, 'Be afraid; be very afraid.'"

There are still a lot of questions left unanswered. This isn't the definitive word on this topic at all."

Full Analysis.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

LinuxAndUbuntu Distro Review Of The Week - Deepin OS

​Depth/Deepin OS is not just another Linux Distro, but one with something new to show. Deepin OS is simply speaking, just beautiful. Deepin OS, formerly known as Deepin, Linux Deepin, and Hiweed GNU/Linux is a Linux distro with an identity crisis. Seriously, this distro has undergone name changes you always have to check twice if the name is still the same. And that is all the negative you are going to say about this distro. Honestly speaking, Deepin OS is surely going to blow you away. I have been keeping an eye on this distro since 2013 and it still manages to impress me. Read more

KDE Leftovers: digikam, KDevelop, Kate, GSoC, and Akademy

  • [digikam] Call to Test the Pre-Release of 5.6.0
    Once again a lot has been going on behind the scenes since the last release. The HTML gallery tool is back, database shrinking (e.g. purging stale thumbnails) is also supported on MySQL, grouping has been improved and additional sidecars can now be specified. Therefore the release of 5.6.0 will be (is already) delayed, as we would like to invite you to test all these features. As usual they are available in the pre-release bundles or obviously directly from the git repository. Please report any dysfunctions, unexpected behaviour or suggestions for improvement to our bug tracker.
  • KDevelop runtimes: Docker and Flatpak integration
    On my last blog post I discussed about how some assumptions such as the platform developed on can affect our development. We need to minimize it by empowering the developers with good tools so that they can develop properly. To that end, I introduced runtimes in our IDE to abstract platforms (much like on Gnome’s Builder or Qt Creator).
  • Kate 17.04.1 available for Windows
  • GSoC - Community Bonding Period with Krita
  • First month report: my feelings about gsoc
  • My Akademy Plans
    The Akademy programme (saturday, sunday) is actually pretty long; the conference days stretch into feels-like-evening to me. Of course, the Dutch are infamous for being “6pm at the dinner table, and eat potatoes” so my notion of evening may not match what works on the Mediterranean coast. Actually, I know it doesn’t since way back when at a Ubuntu Developer Summit in Sevilla it took some internal-clock-resetting to adjust to dinner closer to midnight than 18:00.

Gaming News: Shogun, SteamOS, Dawn Of War III