File-sharing suffers major court defeat

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4627679.stm



The Supreme Court in the US has ruled that manufacturers of file-sharing software are to be held to blame for people using the programs for illegal purposes.



What will this do to file-sharing?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    pyr3pyr3 Posts: 946member
    This is a sad day for fair-use. Now all software makers can be held liable for the uses of the software they create. Technically they means that Microsoft can be sued because a movie pirate was pirating software within Windows. Or the creators of DVD Backup software can be sued because pirates can use that to copy DVDs.



    This is the legal equivalent of someone suing Ford Motor Company because a drunk driver killed their loved one, and he was driving a Ford car when he did it. Obviously Ford has to make it idiot-proof so that no drunk driver could possibly do any harm whatsoever and they shouldn't be allowed to bring any car to market that could ever harm a person or be used to transport illegal goods at that. Think it sounds ludicrous to force car companies to make sure that every single person that buys one of their cars is the most perfect driver possible and that every item taken into a car has to be proven to be legally purchased? Well, this ruling is the equivalent of that. The Supreme Court is broken.... this ruling and the eminent domain ruling.... ugh.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    well people are gonan start complainging about how they'll be forced into using DRM now, even though they aren't. This means that legal services like itunes are gonna get more business from normal people. And people that somehow feel jaded by DRM are gonna go to a local music store to buy CD's and then rip them.



    Overall I think this is a good call by supreme court, because these file-sharing apps were overwhelmingly used to pirate copyrighted materials.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    pyr3pyr3 Posts: 946member
    I retract my statement. So far I've read the first 13 pages of the Supreme Court ruling and it seems they based their ruling on evidence that the p2p networks were created with the intent of encouraging users to commit infringement so that the companies could cash in on advertisement revenue. Because they were created with the intent of encouraging users to infringe, the software creators can be held liable for the infringement.



    Quote:

    In this case, the Ninth Circuit misread

    Sony to mean that when a product is capable of substantial lawful

    use, the producer cannot be held contributorily liable for third parties

    ? infringing use of it, even when an actual purpose to cause infringing

    use is shown, unless the distributors had specific knowledge

    of infringement at a time when they contributed to the infringement

    and failed to act upon that information. Sony did not displace other

    secondary liability theories. Pp. 13?17.



    Quote:

    Nothing in Sony requires courts to ignore evidence of intent to

    promote infringement if such evidence exists. It was never meant to

    foreclose rules of fault-based liability derived from the common law.

    464 U. S., at 439. Where evidence goes beyond a product?s characteristics

    or the knowledge that it may be put to infringing uses, and

    shows statements or actions directed to promoting infringement,

    Sony?s staple-article rule will not preclude liability. At common law a

    copyright or patent defendant who ?not only expected but invoked

    [infringing use] by advertisement? was liable for infringement.



    Kalem Co. v. Harper Brothers, 222 U. S. 55, 62?63. The rule on inducement

    of infringement as developed in the early cases is no different

    today. Evidence of active steps taken to encourage direct infringement,

    such as advertising an infringing use or instructing how

    to engage in an infringing use, shows an affirmative intent that the

    product be used to infringe, and overcomes the law?s reluctance to

    find liability when a defendant merely sells a commercial product

    suitable for some lawful use. A rule that premises liability on purposeful,

    culpable expression and conduct does nothing to compromise

    legitimate commerce or discourage innovation having a lawful promise.

    Pp. 17?20.



  • Reply 4 of 17
    Exactly. I had to point this out at TMO, too. If your p2p product does not hold itself out as a way to illegally download copyrighted materials, this ruling does not affect you.



    It was the only way the Supreme Court could rule against the P2P companies and yet not reverse their holding in the VCR case. Imagine the slippery slope if they had!
  • Reply 5 of 17
    danosaurdanosaur Posts: 258member
    Personally I don't believe you can really own music, per se. But that's a different discussion altogether.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    cwestphacwestpha Posts: 48member
    Ironicly under the standards in the majority descision the iPod is an illigal technology because Apple at once point used piracy as a major selling feature of it. Anyone remember Rip Mix Burn? They even added Share after.



    Oh and also it makes casset tape and VCRs illigal because many of them were sold with wording on the box making it clear you could make duplicates of copyrighted work then share with other people.



    One last thing to note. The desision did not find against Grokster. It just claified the standards for procicution in these cases. As long as a product is not made or sold with it being advertized as being able to make illigal copies and share copyrighted works, its legal. Now the lower court has to decide if Grokster activly advertized the service for sharing and copying copyrighted work.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by cwestpha

    Ironicly under the standards in the majority descision the iPod is an illigal technology because Apple at once point used piracy as a major selling feature of it. Anyone remember Rip Mix Burn?



    and



    The "Rip" in "Rip Mix Burn" never meant "rip off" or "pirate/steal/illegally copy".



    "Rip" is loosely derived from the printing industry's "raster image processing".



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIP
  • Reply 8 of 17
    cwestphacwestpha Posts: 48member
    Doesnt matter, what they ment by RIP is irrelivent. The public understanding of the meaning is what is often used in courts of law. It is impossible for Apple to defend that as what is the common definition is always understood what is used.

    Besides if Apple didnt have iTunes the RIAA would have sued them long ago. Heck, to the RIAA iTunes was suposed to be a miserable failer and proof that P2P harms their bottom line. Instead it gave proof that if an online alternitive with the ability to download individual tracks, despite price or quality, it can be a sucessful buisness moddel. Now RIAA needs that money to fund its suits.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by cwestpha

    Doesnt matter, what they ment by RIP is irrelivent. The public understanding of the meaning is what is often used in courts of law. It is impossible for Apple to defend that as what is the common definition is always understood what is used.

    Besides if Apple didnt have iTunes the RIAA would have sued them long ago. Heck, to the RIAA iTunes was suposed to be a miserable failer and proof that P2P harms their bottom line. Instead it gave proof that if an online alternitive with the ability to download individual tracks, despite price or quality, it can be a sucessful buisness moddel. Now RIAA needs that money to fund its suits.




    The "public understanding" of the term rip as it related to the iPod at the time was to convert music on CD's to .mp3 format. Apple never promoted the iPod as means to steal music. In fact, Apple's advertisements for the iPod explicitly stated "Don't steal music." Nothing in the tagline "Rip, Mix, Burn" implies otherwise. If you have documentation to the contrary, feel free to share it.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    pyr3pyr3 Posts: 946member
    Um, what part of "Rip, Mix, Burn" says "from CDs you don't own" after it? I have lots of CDs that I can "Rip from CD, Mix into a playlist, and Burn to CD/iPod/etc"... Or maybe you meant "Rip-off a party store, Mix up some Crystal Meth, and Burn down your house"? Seriously. That's kind of a reach.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Mr. Me

    The "public understanding" of the term rip as it related to the iPod at the time was to convert music on CD's to .mp3 format. Apple never promoted the iPod as means to steal music. In fact, Apple's advertisements for the iPod explicitly stated "Don't steal music." Nothing in the tagline "Rip, Mix, Burn" implies otherwise. If you have documentation to the contrary, feel free to share it.



    At the time it did mean to transcode music off of CDs into a compressed music format. Doesnt meen Apple would win with that argument. Remember RIAA has an army of lawyers, Apple has an army of PR people. It could be argued that because of that campeign and it's technology advertized RIP became sonominus with ripping off or piriting content. Furthermore RIP was at the time used to describe "ripping" songs off the web with the Napster and P2P elite, the same people Apple targeted with the first iPods.

    Furthermore it is importent to note that near the end of the campaign Apple added Share to some of its marketing material to show of the abilities for advanced playlist support, trojen marketing, and some of the new iTunes features. It also wasnt until about this time Apple actualy made a direct effort to thwart sharing of copyrighted music (by making secure AAC default for riped content). Also they did the secure AAC for iTunes downloaded music.



    The bottom line is in a court of law you can prove or disprove anything. You just have to take advantage of the legal system's ignorence of marketing and technology. It happens all the time.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by cwestpha

    At the time it did mean to transcode music off of CDs into a compressed music format. Doesnt meen Apple would win with that argument. Remember RIAA has an army of lawyers, Apple has an army of PR people. It could be argued that because of that campeign and it's technology advertized RIP became sonominus with ripping off or piriting content. ....



    We are not talking about what an incompetent attorney might argue. We are talking about what the Supreme Court ruled today. Grokster lost because it explicitly advertised its service as a piracy tool. Apple never did anything of the sort. As for PR, civil trials are not conducted in the Court of Public Opinion. They are boring affairs conducted in court rooms in front of judges and possibly juries. Apple's "army of PR people" would have no effect on the outcome.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Mr. Me

    We are not talking about what an incompetent attorney might argue. We are talking about what the Supreme Court ruled today. Grokster lost because it explicitly advertised its service as a piracy tool. Apple never did anything of the sort. As for PR, civil trials are not conducted in the Court of Public Opinion. They are boring affairs conducted in court rooms in front of judges and possibly juries. Apple's "army of PR people" would have no effect on the outcome.



    Once again you have not countered anything that I have said.

    I have not talked about anything outside of the relm of this descision, it was others that made my comments about the possibility of Apple's old Rip Mix Burn campaign.

    Once again Grokster did not lose, the Supream court made NO descision on who won or lost the case. They just clarified that central point of the arguements, being what constitutes a product that can be found liable for the acts of its users if advertized for that purpose. The court simply ruled that if you activly advertise a product as a device for infringing copyright, then you can be held liable for infringments done using such device. With that clarification they then sent it back down to the federal appeals court for a full re-trial.

    Please read more about these things (white papers, court opinions, third party shootouts/in depth analysis, etc) before trying to counter an argument.



    What Apple did and did not do is a seperat argument in a point I hinted at that you and a few others desicded to explore without considering the full ramifications of such a statement.



    1) I never did say that Apple activly did such a thing. I simply said that the case could be made that Apple did such a thing as Grokster seing as Grokster STILL has not been found against in any federal court to my knoladge.

    2) The Comment about Apple PR people was simply to point out that while the RIAA's main strength comes from it's lawyers, Apple's comes form its PR people. I did not in any way say that PR would have a sway in a court of law, nor would the court of opinion.

    You made all of the above asumptions, granted with a bit of help for my not crystal clear writing style.

    3) The bottom line is when it comes to technology or sales compaigns courts are vary ignorent. Proving what meant when in such a time is a hard thing to prove and comes down to opinion. A crafty lawyer could easily prove, using current standards and with hind sight, such a thing was not in the right.

    I had an excelent example of this with the target of Apple with the iPod at the technology savy and fassionable, who at the time was using the phrase ripping in relation to ripping something off a website or Napster. Proving facts in a court of law is hard, where as proving opinions and doubt is easy. Technecly a court of law is about facts, however in modern cases opinion and things not solidly identifiable as facts are emited as factual evidence.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member
    Quote:

    Technecly a court of law is about facts, however in modern cases opinion and things not solidly identifiable as facts are emited as factual evidence.



    Well said.

    That is why I'm not worried about p2p going away.

    As long as court is plainly ignoring the simple facts of the physical world and technology, it will never catch up and certainly will never control it.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    Grokster didn't lose this case. The SC just reversed the summary judgement in favor of Grokster, and said the case must go to trial. It doesn't mean that Grokster won't win at trial, or that whatever decision occurs won't be re-appealed to the SC. What I worry about is how this muddies the waters and opens the door for lots of (potentialy) frivolous lawsuits. That summary judgement in favor of the most egregious "offender" was a big disincentive to the RIAA continuing this course of action. Now that they know they can at least get a trial, they'll be much more likely to sue anyone and everyone, which means it's a big-lawyers-eat-small-lawyers game.



    Everyone assumes that BitTorrent, for example, is free and clear under the SC's criteria, but that won't necessarily stop the RIAA from forcing its creators to defend themselves, at ruinous expense, at trial. The small fish will have no chance. And P2P is made by small fish, for small fish. The whole point is to distribute load for folks who can't afford to centralize it. Those folks, by definition, can't afford to defend the idea in court.



    The only way this could work out well is if the RIAA follows SCO's arrogant lead and tries to take a chunk out of someone with the pockets to hit back. But who could play the role of IBM? Apple and MS are partnered with the industry now. Sony would be suing itself. A cable provider maybe? But now that legal services are picking up, they might not feel compelled to defend P2P traffic. Maybe IBM will stand up for the Linux and research communities, again...
  • Reply 16 of 17
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member
    Quote:

    Everyone assumes that BitTorrent, for example, is free and clear under the SC's criteria, but that won't necessarily stop the RIAA from forcing its creators to defend themselves, at ruinous expense, at trial.



    To win this game is easy. Just move the official operation off shore.



    And even that may not be needed. The court also wrote that in the absense of intent the person/ business may not held liable.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    gene cleangene clean Posts: 3,481member
    As long as Grokster, or any other company for that matter, don't promote their P2P software as a tool to copyright infringement (phrases like "Come here and download the newest movies!") then they just can't be held liable.



    It was easier for RIAA to go after companies when networks were centralized, like Napster, or even AudioGalaxy, but now that a lot of these networks are decentrilized (BitTorrent, for example) - you close one and another springs to life. It's very hard for RIAA to sue each and every person out there using BitTorrent. Especially if the parent 'company' of BitTorrent isn't encouraging copyright infringement. And it doesn't have to be BitTorrent either. Take LimeWire for example.
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