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: Greenland darkening to continue, predicts CCNY expert Marco Tedesco

Related Stories

Crickets aren't the miracle source of protein

16 minutes ago

Crickets are not all that they're cracked up to be as an alternative, global source of protein in the human diet to supplement or replace livestock consumption, according to newly published research completed ...

Arctic sea ice maximum reaches lowest extent on record

19 minutes ago

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. NSIDC scientists provide Arctic Sea Ice News ...

Tri-Country Park set to become landscape laboratory

22 minutes ago

The Tri-Country Park (Drielandenpark) is the name for the cross-border landscape area between Maastricht, Hasselt, Heerlen, Liège and Aachen. The area is home to some 4 million people and attracts many visitors ...

Recommended for you

Online discussion forums good for well-being, study shows

29 minutes ago

A new study has found that internet discussion forums have positive links to well-being and are even associated with increased community engagement offline, contrary to a common perception of them being outdated and prone ...

How the first smart shopping mall in Europe works

47 minutes ago

Researchers from Zendos Tecnología and the IMDEA Networks Institute have developed an innovative tool to analyze the behavior of customers and visitors to shopping malls. The result is a technological platform called Ubicua ...

World's first 5G radio channel model

2 hours ago

While the next mobile network generation – 5G – is yet to be fully realised, the EU has committed itself to ensuring that European businesses and services are able to take full advantage when this new ...

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.