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News   News : Judge backs P2P file traders
   posted by _Steve_ on 29-Apr-2003 12:54:45 (1784 reads)
A Los Angeles judge dealt the major music labels and movie studios a stunning blow on Friday, throwing out their case against the Grokster and StreamCast file-trading services on grounds that neither service can be held accountable for illegal file swapping done by users.

U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson said that Grokster and StreamCast provide technology used for both legal and illegal means much like a VCR or copy machine, and they cannot control what the end user does with the technology. In addition, neither Grokster or StreamCast have immediate knowledge of when a user is trading a copyrighted file or a centralized means to stop these actions.

"It is undisputed that there are substantial noninfringing uses for defendants' software," wrote Judge Wilson [PDF, 1.4 MB] . "For instance, StreamCast has adduced evidence that the Morpheus program is regularly used to facilitate and search for public domain materials, government documents, media content for which distribution is authorized, media content as to which the rights owners do not object to distribution, and computer software for which distribution is permitted."

Those words surely made the music label-backed Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) weep.

The full article can be read here

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Re: Judge backs P2P file traders
Posted on 29-Apr-2003 14:22:47
#1 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 4-Jan-2003
Posts: 726
From: South Wales, UK

Hmmm I must say that I disagree with the Judge's thoughts on this one. I mean, don't get me wrong it's good news for those of us who love to download MP3s and Videos etc etc, but regardless of that the fact remains it is an ILLEGAL means of gaining copyrighted material.

P2P transfer cannot be compared to a VCR recorder, because a VCR recorder was never designed with piracy in mind - the technology was developed in order to allow a customer to record programmes off TV that they could watch at a later date, it was not designed with piracy in mind.

P2P transfers, on the other hand, that's a completely different matter. The only reason why these networks are setup is for the distribution of copyrighted material. You could argue that legitamate files are swapped on these networks, but let's be honest 99% of the transfers are for copyrighted material of some description, and the owners of these P2P networks make no attempt to stop it - in truth it's what they setup the networks for in the first place.

I'm not trying to come across all righteous here, I admit I've downloaded copyrighted material off P2P networks myself so I'm no saint, but you have to feel for the people in the music/film business and software business who are having all their material posted on the internet free for anyone to download as they wish, complete with crack codes and eveything.

The PC world of course overcomes this by sales in the business market (if not for that they'd all be out of business by now) but what of the Amiga market? If P2P comes to the Amiga and Amiga software starts appearing there, that could be the seal of death for our favourite platform.

We are only just managing to rebuild our favourite platform and the release of OS4 is not far away now. I would urge all Amiga users to purchase their software legitametly, and not be tempted to download any piece of copyrighted Amiga software from a P2P netowork. The Amiga platform is too small to be able to account for this type of piracy now, and every single piece of pirated software will make a difference. If you want to use your Amiga for the forseeable future, I suggest we all support the it with legitamate purchases!!!

Any thoughts on this?


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Re: Judge backs P2P file traders
Posted on 29-Apr-2003 17:26:28
#2 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 25-Feb-2003
Posts: 118
From: UK

Hi brian,

> [the VCR] was developed in order to allow a customer to record programmes off TV that they could watch at a later date

True. However, this is illegal if you retain the programme. It may not be digital, but it is still copying someone elses work.

> [the VCR] was not designed with piracy in mind.

How do you know? What about CD-R drives?
The point I`m trying to make here, is that neither the Courts or we know exactly what was going through the heads of the developers at the time.

> The only reason why these networks are setup is for the distribution of copyrighted material.

Lets face it, you know it and I know it. But in Law you are Innocent until proven guilty.

> the owners of these P2P networks make no attempt to stop it

True. Perhaps the Courts should have imposed some system for stopping copyrighted material but allowing non-copyrighted material.

But how could such a system work?

> The Amiga platform is too small to be able to account for this type of piracy

I agree.

Just as a side note, It has recently become illegal to download copyrighted material in the UK. I bet you thought it already was!!!

Technically the act of downloading it, never really was illegal, storing it was. Now you could be sued for the act of downloading aswell as the act of storing the material, and if part of a P2P network, uploading.

I expect a few people will have "the book" thrown at them and be made examples of.

Best Regards,


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Re: Judge backs P2P file traders
Posted on 29-Apr-2003 17:38:33
#3 ]
Team Member
Joined: 17-Oct-2002
Posts: 6800
From: UK

The analogy to the VCR is perfectly correct, since the fact remains people can use them to copy copyrighted material. The fact it is designed to record things is irrelevant to how its users use it.

P2P networks are in the same manner designed for sharing files of any type. The fact that the users of said software choose to use it for the easy sharing of copyrighted material is not the fault of the originating developers, in much the same way as you are unlikely to blame Sony, Phillips, LG etc etc for making and selling VCR recorders, CD recorders, DVD recorders etc etc.

And I hate to point out that P2P already does exist on the Amiga. We have Napster clients, and we have eDonkey, gnutella and other P2P network software in development. These programs are not going to kill the machine off. People pirating and spreading what little software is there will do that, but be realistic, shutting down P2P will not stop that. It will reduce it to begin with sure, but piracy is rife no matter the format or machine or medium.

The advantage for the new Amiga systems for now is that pirating things for it is pretty pointless. The OS cannot be used by the Emulation people, so they wont have a need to pirate it unlike with OS3.x, and the same goes for any applications developed for it. Then you have the two software camps, AOS and MOS, with each not supporting the others formats. This at least will give the systems a chance to get going without several million people clamouring for the latest cd crack/iso image of the software.

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