High court decision in MGM vs. Grokster file-sharing case imminent

Jun 23, 2005

A much-anticipated Supreme Court decision in the *MGM vs. Grokster* file-sharing case is expected as soon as Thursday, 23 June, but not later than the week of 27 June. The case will affect the public's access to the Internet and the development of future technologies, as well as determine how Americans receive their entertainment, according to IEEE-USA experts interviewed in a TODAY'S ENGINEER ONLINE *Extra* published this evening.

IEEE-USA Intellectual Property Committee Chair Andy Greenberg and IEEE-USA President-Elect Ralph Wyndrum responded to questions about the facts of the case, the rationale for IEEE-USA to file an amicus brief, the potential public impact of the decision, as well as what effect different rulings could have on the entertainment and software industries.

TODAY'S ENGINEER notes that "the case hinges on a lawsuit brought by entertainment companies against Grokster and StreamCast Networks, two companies that offer peer-to-peer file-sharing software. The suit claimed that operators of file-shairng systems should be held responsible when their users copy music, movies and other protected works without permission." IEEE-USA contends that "providers of technologies capable of both good and ill -- such as a VCR or a file-sharing system -- should not be liable for the copyright infringements of users unless the provider has actively encouraged its users to infringe."

IEEE-USA's Andy Greenberg, who is a lawyer, engineer and game designer, frames the issue: "The technology on the Internet is one big copy machine; realistically, that's what we have. On the other hand, who would ever suggest that the Internet should have been foreshortened, stopped or stalled because it could be used to infringe?" Greenberg concluded: "We can't allow restrictions on technology to suit a few interests, but we also have to protect the content owners against intentional and active exploitation of that content as seed capital for a new venture."

Looking ahead at whatever rule the Court might adopt, Greenberg projected: "A rule that's too rigid, that allows companies to exploit a tendency to take things for free, would be a problem for the public as a whole." Alternatively, he said: "A rule too loose, one that allows the studios to sue and control -- or a threat of control, would stifle working technology."

Source: IEEE-USA

Explore further: NSA winds down once-secret phone-records collection program

Related Stories

Europe's bathing waters cleaner, says Brussels

1 hour ago

European beach and river bathing sites have cleaned up their acts, with 95 percent now meeting water quality standards in time for the summer holiday season, the EU said Wednesday.

New antibody insecticide targets malaria mosquito

1 hour ago

Malaria is a cruel and disabling disease that targets victims of all ages. Even now, it is estimated to kill one child every minute. Recent progress in halting the spread of the disease has hinged on the ...

Galaxy's snacking habits revealed

1 hour ago

A team of Australian and Spanish astronomers have caught a greedy galaxy gobbling on its neighbours and leaving crumbs of evidence about its dietary past.

Recommended for you

NSA winds down once-secret phone-records collection program

4 hours ago

The National Security Agency has begun winding down its collection and storage of American phone records after the Senate failed to agree on a path forward to change or extend the once-secret program ahead of its expiration ...

Uber drivers fined in Hungary

5 hours ago

The Hungarian tax authority fined Uber drivers in its first probe against the ride-sharing service which the economy ministry said Saturday "ignores passenger safety" and must be made to follow regulations.

Architects to hatch Ecocapsule as low-energy house

May 23, 2015

Where people call home depends on varied factors, from poverty level to personal philosophy to vanity to community pressure. Ecocapsule appears to be the result of special factors, a team of architects applying ...

Apple may deliver ways to rev up the iPad, report says

May 23, 2015

MacRumors last month said that the latest numbers from market research firm IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker revealed Apple stayed on as the largest vendor in a declining tablet market. The iPad ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.