AfterDawn: Tech news

Europe following U.S. Supreme Court 'Grokster' lead

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 07 Aug 2005 20:44 User comments (19)

Europe following U.S. Supreme Court 'Grokster' lead A new directive being pushed by the European Commission could criminalise indirect copyright infringement in the EU, with many similarities to the "MGM vs. Grokster" case in the U.S. If adopted, it would go further than the act of uploading or downloading copyrighted content on P2P networks and would criminalise aiding or inciting copyright infringement. In some cases, operating P2P services could be considered a criminal offence.
"The problem here is some activities, such as the creation of software, can be used for legal and illegal purposes, as is the case with Grokster," says Urs Gasser, professor of law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. "It gets really messy, because it is unclear what is legal or not legal, and it is problematic to operate with such abstract terms."

The same fears are now spreading through Europe that spread through the United States during the MGM vs. Grokster case. Many believe that this could seriously damage technological innovation in the EU. For example, a project could be abandoned because in future a certain aspect of it could be adopted by pirates, which could then leave the owners/operators liable for that copyright infringement by the third parties.

Another big concern is the differences there will be interpreting this legislation across the European Union. Some EU states could have different interpretations of what exactly "inciting" piracy could be. For example, one state may believe that advertisements that say, "Download all the movies you want", are inciting copyright infringement, whereas other states might not agree that the advertisement is enough to hold the owners liable for copyright infringement by third parties.

This new directive also changes the penalties for piracy by "criminal organisations". The maximum prison term could be up to four years and fines up to 300,000.


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19 user comments

18.8.2005 0:27

Nice One, Dela. I think that this is something to be conscious of rather than scared of. because, at the end of the day, most p2ps dont promote copyright theft as such i.e in writing. in fact, i know bearshare and lwire show u all the copyright 'blah blah blah' before u dload. so you can hardly shut those down/sue them when p2p has all these 'useful, legal uses' that nobody hears of

28.8.2005 0:28

"It gets really messy, because it is unclear what is legal or not legal, and it is problematic to operate with such abstract terms."
Well to mee its just another case with grey areas and it has just joined the long train of cases of grey... Universal law should take hand in this and make a final ruling as i have said b4

38.8.2005 1:11

at the end of the day, it doesnt matter if they do close all the p2ps. because private p2ps cant be accessed by the RIAA etc so all you need is a small trusted group with similar interests in files. so, say there is 15 of you, you can all openly share all your files and some people have 1000's of them so you and your small network could have near 100 000 files. sorry if i have gone a little off topic. lethal

48.8.2005 2:34

I was abducted at the local Blockbuster rental store yesterday. I have been advised of my rights, but as I am using the prison computer right now, they tell me I must not disclose too much here online, because anything I say (type) could be used against me in a court of law pending Tuesday morning when I will be arraigned on copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, and willful disregard of intellectual-property rights. It all started just last Thursday ..... I rented an old Disney(tm) movie a friend of mine had told me about. (I have been forbidden to reveal it's title, although I'm sure you have already seen it - it is an 'oldie-but-goodie' involving Mickey Mouse(tm) and his friends). The film had a catchy theme song which I couldn't seem to get out of my head. When I returned the movie on Saturday, I was 'caught' humming the theme song quietly to myself as I dropped the dvd off. I immediately heard a stir, and noticed out of the corner of my eye, a clerk picking up his 2-way radio. I didn't think very much of it at the time until I noticed the other clerks whispering in hushed tones and making several phone calls behind the counter. After about 4 or 5 minutes of browsing their 'New Releases' section, I was rushed on both sides by two plain-clothes detectives, handcuffed, and taken into custody! "UP AGAINST THE WALL, YOU FILTHY PIRATE!", one of them screamed at me, whereupon I was blindfolded and summarily escorted into a darkened back room. It was just awful, afterdawners. [sob!] :-( [wiping tears] I was rudely pushed into a chair and the blindfold was removed. They switched a 300-watt lightbulb on and shone it in my face. I fearfully looked up to see this big goon with a pockmarked face and big bulbuous nose (with a big purple vein running through it) staring me straight in the eyes. His breath smelled like a bag of Blockbuster popcorn. "And just WHO gave YOU the right to run around the store, *willfully* humming copyrighted Disney(tm) theme songs without the express written consent of the publishers? Huh? Huh? That's what * I * want to know !!" "Umm, well, I ... I ... didn't mean any harm, ... " I began lamely, but he cut me off. "You Pirates make me sick! Don't you realize that *other* people here in the store, who haven't even PAID to rent that DVD yet, might hear you humming that Disney(tm) tune for FREE, huh? What if they decided they didn't like the tune, and then decided not to rent the movie? Huh? Huh?" Well, to tell you the truth, I had never really thought about that side of it. I am being held in the county courthouse right now and the security guard -- (who is a pretty nice guy; he has already seen the movie and told me it's 'ok' if I hum the tune quietly to myself so long as there are no other guards around who may or may not have paid to see the movie yet) - told me my court-appointed lawyer will arrive shortly. I have been told that things *may* go a bit easier for me if I am willing to "co-operate" with the authorities, and agree to the following: * I must watch any future Disney(tm) rentals in a closed room, with the shades drawn and the volume turned way down, (or preferably through headphones). * I must not speak publicy of the film after I have seen it, unless it is to praise it in glowing terms. I will be allowed to quote no more than short passages of dialogue for this purpose, and hum no more than 3 (three) short pieces from the theme, if spaced over 5-minute intervals. * I must sign-up with the Blockbuster "Frequent-Renter Sooper-Dooper" discount rental plan, and convince 5 other buddies to do the same. (Please send me a PM if you wish to help me out and join the promo; I could only sucker.... (er).... *find* two other people to join). Oh well..... I must scoot now as I see my attorney is about due to arrive. I think he is the nephew or something of the guy who interrogated me earlier, so I have a bad feeling about this. [sigh....] If you don't see me posting in here for a couple of days, please tell my family not to worry too much (they are giving me all the free bread I can eat), and that I will miss them. Your Pal, -- The Dirty Filthy Pirate, A_Klingon --

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Aug 2005 @ 3:21

58.8.2005 2:57

SHIIIIIT no way man u gotta be shittin me. where has the common sense gone from this (Scuse my french) F***ing justice system *deep breaths, benjers* hey im really sorry man that you have been caught in this situation. do these people not realise how stupid they sound? you can really get treated like a paedophile for humming a tune in public so what about radio. i dont pay anything to hear the radio..... klingon im really sorry man. hope it all works out 4 u and u get out unscathed (U will!!) damn!! benjers

68.8.2005 4:16


78.8.2005 4:16

Sry double

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Aug 2005 @ 4:18

88.8.2005 5:05

AHAHAHAHA that was hilarious. great story man! wow i enjoyed reading that one. you really made me rofl. thank you man just what i needed today. lmao

98.8.2005 8:23

Oh, I just thought I'd mention: Member benjers (above), just sent me a PM offering to join that new Blockbuster "Bleed Your Credit Card Dry" dvd promo program. (Hey, thanks, benjers!) He picked a good day to join - they throw in a free bottle of Pepsi on Mondays. And don't forget to "Make It A Blockbuster Night!" :-) Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!!!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Aug 2005 @ 8:43

108.8.2005 10:07

:P :P :P :D :D :D lol i prefer coke myself lol

118.8.2005 13:21

that was the best, funniest post I have ever read on this site.

128.8.2005 18:41

The way things are going,what klingon wrote might get real.

139.8.2005 3:00

Kind of scary, how far could they take this? Well, they managed to stop the software patent directive - we could probably do some lobbying against this as well.

149.8.2005 7:03

On a serious note .... I'd just as soon SHAME them all by exposing (as above) how utterly ridiculous and greedy/corrupt mega-business has become, and rub their noses in it. There is much worse coming down the road for all of us, particularly in light of the soon-to-be high-density and high-definiton formats just around the corner. (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray). Control and "compliance", is what "they" want, and DRM is going to invade just about every piece of software and hardware you own. The process has already begun. (A long-long story for another day).

1510.8.2005 2:35

Very, very heartbreaking story A_Klingon. I almost got caught for that very same offense the other day, but I noticed the cashier was looking at me funny so I quickly changed my tune to Beethoven's Fur Elise. The cashier told me he'd let me off with a warning since the original artist was dead, but that he wouldn't be so forgiving if he caught me doing it again. On a more practical note though, it seems like what the movie industry really needs is some bad publicity. Too many people are ignorant of all the crap they've been pulling. I can just see them raving on about how PVP-OPM and DRM are going to "Enable a new high-definition discs to be played in our homes," when what's really happening is that they're disabling all the older devices. They always find a way to make themselves sound like such good people to the average consumer.

1611.8.2005 10:37

This is not a case of 'are P2P networks used for piracy'. They are making makers of a tool (physical or intelectual makes no difference) liable for the use of it. This is the exact same thing as making gun manufactures liable for the crimes commited. Exactly the same; both are used for good and bad, think about it. The same argument would make Nikon liable for kiddy porn pics and Ford liable for speeding. I thought "The Hangman" was required reading in schools.

1711.8.2005 15:35

ok nice just a couple of things id like to ask. i put my dvd recorder recording a movie on a tv channel because i was working and could not see it, so now that i have a copy of that movie and it`s not the first movie i recorded, and i can watch them anytime i want, am i in trouble for having a copy of films in my possetion that i did not purchase i a store? is what i did illegal? must i destroy all the copies i have? so why make recorders if we are not allowed to record anyting we want? and humming a tune gets u in jail , so why bother buying or bother selling music cds , tapes , lps or what ever to to consumer? as long as i know people when hireing or purchasing a video or music is allready paying the rights to the author to use that video or music in anyway he or she wants as longs as he or she does not profit anything from it.(money wise) justice exists only to punish the innocent and to give the criminal another chance of comitting another crime.

1811.8.2005 16:19

Hmmm - so video/dvd recorders are going to be banned, as will harddrives too. Flash memory will have to be banned. And do forget about pens/pencils/markers and paper, after all, you can write out a book using these. Audio tapes, cds, and more will have to be banned to - all these can be used to breach copyright. Can anyone say "Orson Well's 1984" ?

1912.8.2005 3:53

No. But I can say 'George Orwell's 1984'

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