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Big Win For P2P
April 25, 2003
Thomas Mennecke
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Today is perhaps one of the most important turning points in P2P history. The RIAA has been trying to implicate Sharman Networks and Grokster in their campaign to eliminate file-sharing. Their success against file-sharing has been limited, as only centralized networks have fallen to the RIAA onslaught.

Notably, Judge Steven Wilson recognized that file-sharing networks have both legitimate and illegitimate uses.

"Defendants distribute and support software, the users of which can and do choose to employ it for both lawful and unlawful ends," Wilson wrote in his opinion, released Friday. "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."

The RIAA has expressed deep dissatisfaction with the ruling, however they did find a few favorable points. From Hiliary Rosen, CEO and Chairwoman of the RIAA:

"We are pleased with the Court's affirmation that individual users are accountable for illegally uploading and downloading copyrighted works off of publicly accessible peer-to-peer networks. This is precisely the issue we have been seeking to focus the public's attention on, and yesterday's decision in the Verizon matter makes clear that individual infringers cannot expect to remain anonymous when they engage in this illegal activity.

"We also note that the District Court in the Grokster matter recognized that the Defendants 'may have intentionally structured their businesses to avoid secondary liability for copyright infringement, while benefiting financially from the illicit draw of their wares.'

"Businesses that intentionally facilitate massive piracy should not be able to evade responsibility for their actions. We disagree with the District Court's decision that these services are not liable for the massive illegal piracy that their systems encourage and we will immediately appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals."

How this will all pan out in the end remains to be seen. If the copyright industry cannot stop P2P networking at the source, they may opt to chase individual users, a tactic that has been large controversial and unpopular. Considering the flack they've received from the Verizon/Kazaa case, the music industry may have to reinnovate themselves to compete in this brave new world.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Legal/Courtroom :: Court Rulings/Decisions
P2P Clients :: Morpheus

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