Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

File-Sharing Services May Be Sued

Filed under
Legal

Internet file-sharing services will be held responsible if they intend for their customers to use software primarily to swap songs and movies illegally, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, rejecting warnings that the lawsuits will stunt growth of cool tech gadgets such as the next iPod.

The unanimous decision sends the case back to lower court, which had ruled in favor of file-sharing services Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc. on the grounds that the companies couldn't be sued. The justices said there was enough evidence of unlawful intent for the case to go to trial.

File-sharing services shouldn't get a free pass on bad behavior, justices said.

"We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by the clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties," Justice David H. Souter wrote for the court.

At issue was whether the file-sharing services should be held liable even if they have no direct control over what millions of online users are doing with the software they provide for free. As much as 90 percent of songs and movies copied on the file-sharing networks are downloaded illegally, according to music industry filings.

The entertainment industry said it needed protection against the billions of dollars in revenue they lose to illegal swapping. Consumer groups worried that expanded liability will stifle the technology revolution of the last two decades that brought video cassette recorders, MP3 players and Apple's iPod.

Companies will have to pay music and movie artists for up to billions in losses if they are found to have promoted illegal downloading.

Two lower courts previously sided with Grokster without holding a trial. They each based their decisions on the 1984 Supreme Court ruling that Sony Corp. could not be sued over consumers who used its VCRs to make illegal copies of movies.

The lower courts reasoned that, like VCRs, the file-sharing software can be used for "substantial" legal purposes, such as giving away free songs, free software or government documents. They also said the file-sharing services were not legally responsible because they don't have central servers pointing users to copyright material.

But in Monday's ruling, Souter said lower courts could find the file-sharing services responsible by examining factors such as how companies marketed the product or whether they took easily available steps to reduce infringing uses.

"There is substantial evidence in MGM's favor on all elements of inducement," Souter wrote.

Associated Press

Guns!

This is what I dont understand. How can filesharing services be responsible for what their users do? It can be for good or bad. Same for guns. Someone can take a gun and perform criminal acts but the person who did the act is responsible not the company that made the gun!

So far this week the Supreme court is batting zero. First they say private companies can take over your property and home for development and now this.

re: Guns!

Yep, this country has gone to hell in a handbasket I tell ya. It's not by the people for the people anymore - it's by big business for big business these days. We are just the consumers - who are actually being consumed. Sucked and bled dry... I hate to think how few rights Americans will still have in 50 years. Thank gawd I'll be dead by then.

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

re: Guns! (more)

There's a very interesting thread going on kuroshin about that property thing you brought up. It kinda solidifies what I was basically trying to say. Very interesting - and scary!

Here it is.

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

From Raspberry Pi to Supercomputers to the Cloud: The Linux Operating System

Linux is widely used in corporations now as the basis for everything from file servers to web servers to network security servers. The no-cost as well as commercial availability of distributions makes it an obvious choice in many scenarios. Distributions of Linux now power machines as small as the tiny Raspberry Pi to the largest supercomputers in the world. There is a wide variety of minimal and security hardened distributions, some of them designed for GPU workloads. Read more

IBM’s Systems With GNU/Linux

  • IBM Gives Power Systems Rebates For Linux Workloads
    Big Blue has made no secret whatsoever that it wants to ride the Linux wave up with the Power Systems platform, and its marketeers are doing what they can to sweeten the hardware deals as best they can without adversely affecting the top and bottom line at IBM in general and the Power Systems division in particular to help that Linux cause along.
  • Drilling Down Into IBM’s System Group
    The most obvious thing is that IBM’s revenues and profits continue to shrink, but the downside is getting smaller and smaller, and we think that IBM’s core systems business will start to level out this year and maybe even grow by the third or fourth quarter, depending on when Power9-based Power Systems and z14-based System z mainframes hit the market. In the final period of 2016, IBM’s overall revenues were $21.77 billion, down 1.1 percent from a year ago, and net income rose by nearly a point to $4.5 billion. This is sure a lot better than a year ago, when IBM’s revenues fell by 8.4 percent to $22 billion and its net income fell by 18.6 percent to $4.46 billion. For the full 2016 year, IBM’s revenues were off 2.1 percent to $79.85 billion, but its “real” systems business, which includes servers, storage, switching, systems software, databases, transaction monitors, and tech support and financing for its own iron, fell by 8.3 percent to $26.1 billion. (That’s our estimate; IBM does not break out sales this way, but we have some pretty good guesses on how it all breaks down.)

Security News

  • DB Ransom Attacks Spread to CouchDB and Hadoop [Ed: Get sysadmins who know what they are doing, as misconfigurations are expensive]
  • Security advisories for Monday
  • Return on Risk Investment
  • Widely used WebEx plugin for Chrome will execute attack code—patch now!
    The Chrome browser extension for Cisco Systems WebEx communications and collaboration service was just updated to fix a vulnerability that leaves all 20 million users susceptible to drive-by attacks that can be carried out by just about any website they visit.
  • DDoS attacks larger, more frequent and complex says Arbor
    Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are becoming more frequent and complex, forcing businesses to deploy purpose-built DDoS protection solutions, according to a new infrastructure security report which warns that the threat landscape has been transformed by the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) botnets. The annual worldwide infrastructure security report from Arbor Networks - the security division of NETSCOUT - reveals that the largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack reported in 2016 was 800 Gbps, a 60% increase over 2015’s largest attack of 500 Gbps.

Red Hat News