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MGM v. Grokster decided.

Started by EvilAndrew, 2005-06-28T10:39:25-05:00 (Tuesday)

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Yesterday, the US Supreme Court held in a 9-0 ruling that â€Ã...“One who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright â€Ã,¦ is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties using the device, regardless of the device’s lawful uses.â€Ã, (full opinion here)  This changes the standard previously set that a device (or piece of software) was legal as long as it had a substantial lawful use.

This clearly spells trouble for US sites, software providers, and service providers selling advertising in the same place that they point to copyright-infringing material.  On the other hand, most P2P services (particularly open-source ones) are not specifically promoted at all. In fact, the court ruled that companies must take â€Ã...“affirmative steps to foster infringementâ€Ã,.  This would seem to save products/projects where common-knowledge/word-of-mouth advertising is the only kind of advertising.  Unfortunately, the court seemed to think that the name Grokster was advertising for infringement because it sounds like Napster (formally a well-known infringer).

News about the ruling.

Key quotes from the decision.


Yeah, I saw that.

To paraphrase a comment someone put on slashdot---
Companies can make armor piercing bullets with no problem.  These are made and marketed with the sole intention OF KILLING SOMEONE!.  This is of course is fully legal.  However, if someone makes software that possibly may infringe someone copyrights, let's sue their ass!!!

It's all about big business.  When there's money involved, we all know who wins.
Retired CAOS Officer/Overachiever
SIUE Alumni Class of 2005