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Hollywood claims P2P case is not about technology

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 25 Jan 2005 21:33 User comments (10)

Hollywood claims P2P case is not about technology In a 67-page brief filed in advance of the March 29 Supreme Court oral arguments in MGM vs. Grokster, the entertainment industry is urging the U.S. Supreme Court not to give companies developing peer-to-peer (P2P) music file swapping software a perpetual free pass to engage in mind-boggling copyright infringement. Attorneys for the movie and music studios are claiming that Grokster and StreamCast do not use P2P technology for legitimate purposes. "Although the technology can be used for lawful exchanges of digital files, that is not how Grokster and StreamCast use it," the entertainment industry's brief states. "They run businesses that abuse the technology. At least 90 percent of the material on their services is infringing, and that infringement occurs millions of times each day".
"The services are breeding grounds for copyright infringement of unprecedented magnitude -- infringement that would not occur if Grokster and StreamCast did not make it possible," the brief continues. The U.S. Solicitor General, the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF), the Business Software Alliance and the Christian Coalition of America supported the music and movie industries by filing friends of the court briefs. Hollywood representatives are trying to stress that the case does not put the P2P technology against the entertainment industry. "These people are not engaging in technological innovation," Dan Glickman, president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, stated.

Hollywood wants the high court to reverse a district court ruling and a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco decision that say file-swapping companies are not liable for the infringement of their users. Judge Stephen Wilson ruled against MGM in a District Court saying, "Grokster and StreamCast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are, used to infringe copyrights,". After Hollywood appealed the decision they got the same result from the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals. "The technology has numerous other uses, significantly reducing the distribution costs of public domain and permissively shared art and speech, as well as reducing the centralized control of that distribution," Judge Sidney R. Thomas wrote in his opinion.


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10 user comments

126.1.2005 4:00

I really wish they'd just let it go. As far as music goes, the bands don't even make any money off of record sales, all that goes to the producers and all them guys. Bands make money off of concerts and stuff like that. You can't exactly bootleg a concert. You can with concert footage, but that just sucks.

226.1.2005 5:15

if there's a will there's a way

326.1.2005 6:04

LOL, I nearly shit a brick when I saw that the CCA had filed a Friends of the Court brief. Aren't they vocally against like 99% of the content that comes out of hollywood? Who says they're not a rightwing political group.

426.1.2005 14:25

Well, hollywod has NEVER lied or distorted information in the past. Why would they start now?

526.1.2005 14:41

One other thing I'm wondering about. If MGM wins and Grokster can be held responsible for it's product being used to commit "crimes", then can gun manufacturers be held responsible for the crimes commited using their products? Okay, the post above was sarcastic, this question is for real.

626.1.2005 16:59

which has more money, bigger lobby group, has part of u.s. constitution to back them up & what do you think will happen

726.1.2005 18:37

"You can't exactly bootleg a concert. You can with concert footage, but that just sucks." are you completely ignorant to the massive world of bootlegs? by definition a bootleg is a recording of a concert...what else can you bootleg (in this context). websites like and the now-non existent were devoted to this trade. however, bands don't lose money due to this because the bootleggers have to obviously pay to get in, and most people who get bootlegs are diehard fans who would of gone if they could and who buy every album anyways. And as far as video bootlegs, i have seen some good ones.

826.1.2005 22:30

@abader, lol, ya, I did a double take when I read that first post. Apparently squizzle has never heard the glory that is a lossless capture of a concert. As long as the guy knows what hes doing, theres no difference between listening to the recording, and being there live, except that there is less crowd noise. And just for the record, I've been trading Radiohead bootlegs for about 5 years, have about 40 dvds of shows, and the 25 or so amatuer ones are the best of my collection. If a band has any kind of following, there will be a significant number of bootlegs, both video and audio, floating around, and a sizable community trading them.

926.1.2005 22:36

@grayarea, That is a damn good point, and I'd have to say, without being an expert, that you are correct. The parallels just seem too obvious not to be applicable. Both guns and p2p software have ligitimate uses, and illegal uses. The gun industry has been hiding behind the same arguement(that the industry is not responsible for that actions of the people who use their product) that Hollywood is now trying to invalidate. It's going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out.

1026.1.2005 22:43

@ddp, Yes, but if the SC sets a precendent, it would be almost unimmaginable that they would be selective in the way they interpreted it, especially for such similar cases. There's also an article of the constitution that gives congress the power to "provide measures that assure the good health of the nation". That little line has allowed congress to do all kinds of unconstitutional things, like outlawing drugs. I'm just saying, each precendent forces the SC to interpret the constitution a little bit differently, so I don't think anyone can predict what would follow from the conviction of Grokster.

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