File-share Ruling Delights P2P Ops

By Jon Newton 8/17/04

Major p2p operators BearShare, Blubster, Grokster, eDonkey and Morpheus say they're delighted by yesterday's appeal court ruling that they don't infringe copyright by developing and distributing their software programs.

"The Ninth Circuit's complete and utter rejection ... of the entertainment industries' attempts to warp long-standing, pro-innovation copyright law into a weapon against peer-to-peer technology and its developers is a profound and major victory for the American consumer and our economy," says executive director Adam Eisgrau.

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"Critically, the court cut through and rejected Hollywood's and 'Big Music's' propaganda about peer-to-peer software and the P2P United member companies sued in this case (Grokster and Streamcast) to find the truth."

The five p2p companies made the points that:

"While the court acknowledged that only Congress can make the kind of radical change in copyright law that the copyright cartel wanted in this case, it also clearly indicated that having the power to make change does not mean that change should be made," said the lobby group in a statement, urging congress to take to heart the court's observations:

'The introduction of new technology is always disruptive to old markets, and particularly to those copyright owners whose works are sold through well established distribution mechanisms. Yet, history has shown that time and market forces often provide equilibrium in balancing interests, whether the new technology be a player piano, a copier, a tape recorder, a video recorder, a personal computer, a karaoke machine, or an MP3 player"; and,

"The Copyright Owners urge a re-examination of the law in the light of what they believe to be proper public policy, expanding exponentially the reach of the doctrines of contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. Not only would such a renovation conflict with binding precedent, it would be unwise. Doubtless, taking that step would satisfy the Copyright Owners' immediate economic aims. However, it would also alter general copyright law in profound ways with unknown ultimate consequences outside the present context."

Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.

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