Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Ruling won't slow file swapping, experts say

Filed under
Legal

In its ruling, the nation's top court found that file-swapping companies Grokster and StreamCast Networks should be held liable for the widespread copyright infringement their technologies enable.

The decision casts uncertainty on the fate of Grokster and other file-swapping companies, but not on the viability of file-swapping itself, an activity that has only flourished under legal attacks, observers said. That's because the software that underlies peer-to-peer networks, used now by more than 8 million people simultaneously around the world, is designed to function and evolve without the aid of any particular commercial venture.

"It operates in a decentralized way," said Wendy Seltzer, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has represented Streamcast Networks. "It doesn't need to call into a home base; it doesn't need product updates from anyplace. What's out there continues to function and can continue to work on a completely distributed basis."

One need only look at Napster for an indication of how persistent file swapping has become and will continue to become, she said. The courts shut the peer-to-peer pioneer down in 2001, sidelining file swapping on the network because Napster computers were central to the system. But other software developers, many of them working independently, soon developed next-generation software that's now more sophisticated and more popular than ever.

As a result, illegal file swapping has only skyrocketed in recent years. In the United States, the average number of people swapping media files simultaneously on major peer-to-peer networks rose from nearly 3 million in 2003 to more than 6 million this year, according to BigChampagne, the Nielsen/NetRatings of file sharing. The vast majority are sharing unauthorized MP3 music files, said Eric Garland, head of BigChampagne.

What Monday's ruling may stop--or at least delay--are further innovations in peer-to-peer technology, said Adam Eisgrau, a lobbyist for P2P United, a trade association. "The reality is, if you've got the next best (peer to peer) mousetrap on your blackboard, you may well have used your eraser defensively today because those plans could be used against you in court."

"The only thing we can say for certain is that there will be more confusion, more litigation, more and more copyright infringement online and a long road ahead."

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Quadcopter drone packs first all-Linux APM autopilot

Erle Robotics launched a ROS-enabled, open source “Erle-brain” autopilot that runs APM directly on Linux. The device also powers an “Erle-copter” drone. Over the last year, Spanish firm Erle Robotics S.L. has been working with 3DRobotics to develop an open source BeaglePilot autopilot for drones that can run Linux on 3DR’s popular, Arduino-based APM (ArduPilot Mega) platform. The APM Linux port was developed by both companies, as well as several academic institutions. The BeagleBone-based “Erle-brain” autopilot is built into the $490-and-up Erle-copter quadcopter. Read more

Seven Tips To Get The Most From Your New Android Smartphone

With applications able to run in the background and sync as they see fit, Android can rapidly eat through your cellular data allowance if you are not careful. While it’s fine to let the data run free on wi-fi, you’ll want to restrict your data usage when out and about. Short of switching off mobile data (which defeats the purpose of a smartphone), look under the options in the Data Usage part of the settings. Here you’ll find my wallet’s favourite Android setting of ‘restrict background data’. Now when using cellular data, apps will only pull down data when they are in the foreground and you can see them doing so. If a smartphone is all about being in control, this is the option that gives you confidence. Read more

today's leftovers

Hands-on with PCLinuxOS: A terrific release

I had been thinking that a new PCLinuxOS release was due any time now, based on their quarterly release schedule. Sure enough, it has now arrived, just in time for Christmas - PCLinuxOS 2014.12. Read more Also: Santa Claus has Linux in his sack -- PCLinuxOS 2014.12 is here PCLinuxOS 2014.12 released