Grokster Fallout

Many articles are being written regarding the the Supreme Court’s decision in the MGM v. Grokster case on Monday June 27, 2005. Most seem to believe this will be some kind of set back, or obsticle to technological innovation, etc. A great place to start reading would be EEDJ blog’s article entitled: “Grokster Commentary Roundup“.

To sum up (taken from a recent Wired article), “In a unanimous ruling, the justices said that Grokster and StreamCast Networks — the company behind the Morpheus network — can be held liable for copyright infringement if they encourage customers to illegally share copyright movies and music. The Supreme Court returned the case to the district court where the two software companies will be tried for inducing infringement.”

This post is just my attempt at keeping a tab on some of what’s been going on.

Debate:

  • The Real Lesson of Grokster (Wired magazine, 06/29/05.)
    Position: “the entertainment industry could well wind up the biggest loser”;
    Reasoning: rely on the courts to secure product sales instead of finding new ways to “insert themselves into the new order”, and one day they might find they’ve been “frozen out forever”;
  • The Court Has Ruled So Enter the Geeks (NY Times, 06/29/05.)
    Position: “it’s a completely alien mentality for profit-focused companies that still dream of being paid every time someone hears a song”;
    Reasoning: “geeks and fans are simply going to bypass a legal framework that was built for sales of sheet music and discs”;
  • Grokster May Haunt Podcasting (Wired magazine, 06/29/05.)
    Position: “the Grokster decision leaves technology companies [like Apple] on shakier footing”;
    Reasoning: Podcasters might include unauthorized copyright material in their broadcasts;
  • The day entrepreneurship died (Jason Calacanis, 06/28/05.)
    Position: “what is the point of building a technology business in the United States if you’re going to get sued for the *potential* illegal use of your product”;
    Reasoning: “people who are thinking of building a Web2.0 services company are going to setup shop in Asia or an island somewhere out of the reach of the US courts“;
  • Grokster Loss Sucks for Tech (Wired magazine, 06/27/05.)
    Position: “the ruling will chill innovation and result in more gadget-killing lawsuits”;
    Reasoning: technology groups are left with an “unclear standard of what it means for a company to encourage, or induce, its customers to infringe copyright”;
  • Canadians wary of Grokster case fallout (vincealexander.com, 06/27/05.)
    Position: “the decision will not have any immediate effect on Canada because the U.S. and Canadian laws are different”;
    Reasoning: the Canadian levy scheme “makes downloading from the Internet legal, as long as it’s for private use and done on an audio recording medium.”;
  • Will Google survive Grokster? (boingboing.net, 06/27/05.)
    Position: “google could be held liable for delivering copyrighted materials”;
    Reasoning: “its business model relies on advertisements. And the more we use Google, the more money it makes”;
  • Ten Years of Chilled Innovation (Lawrence Lessig [businessweek.com], 06/27/05.)
    Position: “this is a pretty significant defeat”;
    Reasoning: the ruling “will invite all sorts of strategic behavior that will dramatically increase the cost of innovating around these technologies”;

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