Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Internet Music Theft Likely To Survive

Filed under
Web
Legal

Even if entertainment companies win their Supreme Court battle for new authority to protect movies and music on the Internet, lawyers say it won't be easy to shut down the decentralized computer links used to trade songs and films.

However, entertainment executives say expanded grounds for lawsuits are needed to discourage inventors from profiting from cool gadgets of the future that could be used for stealing.

"This sort of thing is out there now and you can't go - and I may be wrong about this - but I don't think you can go into people's homes and pull (software) out, or that anybody's likely to do that," said Theodore Olsen, the former U.S. solicitor general now working for entertainment companies. "But it would be an important statement; an important point here is to stop the worst of the activity, stop the people who are making money."

Richard Taranto, the lawyer for software-maker Grokster Ltd., told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that modern file-sharing tools like Grokster's are "autonomous communications products," underscoring the evolution of such software since the entertainment industry's landmark victory in July 2001 shutting down the centralized Napster online service.

Taranto said the case presently facing the Supreme Court is ''critically different'' from the Napster legal fight. He argued that since Grokster isn't directly involved in the activities of its customers illegally swapping music and movies online, it can't be sued for violating copyrights.

Justices appeared divided on important issues during courtroom arguments. In a lively hour-long debate, the court openly worried that new lawsuits could stunt the next iPod. Justices also wondered aloud whether lawsuits against manufacturers might have discouraged past inventions like copying machines, videocassette recorders and MP3 music players - which consumers can use to make illegal copies of documents, movies and songs.

Justice Antonin Scalia said a ruling for entertainment companies could mean that if "I'm a new inventor, I'm going to get sued right away." Scalia, 69, referred to the company as "Grokster, whatever this outfit is called."

The chief executive for Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Andrew Lack, said Grokster "doesn't pass the smell test with a lot of the justices.'' Lack was in the courtroom Tuesday."
There were some concerns that they don't want to see technology or innovation stifled,'' Lack said. "Grokster is wrong from a variety of perspectives."

The entertainment industry's lawyer, Donald Verrilli Jr., maintained that, unlike Grokster's customers, most iPod buyers are honest consumers who pay for their digital music, effectively shielding Apple Computer from such copyright lawsuits.

But Justice David H. Souter said even iPod users will steal music if they believe they can. Souter questioned why the entertainment industry wants to sue Grokster but under the same legal theory wouldn't also sue Apple so aggressively that the iPod's developer would "lose his shirt."
"I know perfectly well if I can get music on my iPod without paying that's what I'm going to do," said Souter.

Yet the court appeared deeply troubled by Grokster's efforts to encourage rampant Internet piracy and profit from it. Verrilli called its software "a gigantic engine of infringement" thieves use to steal 2.6 billion songs, movies and other digital files each month.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy pressed Grokster's lawyer on whether profits from trafficking in stolen property can rightfully be used to help finance a young technology business. "That seems wrong to me," Kennedy said.

Regardless of the outcome, it still won't be legal to download copyrighted materials over the Internet without permission, though tens of millions of computer users do it each day. A ruling won't affect thousands of copyright lawsuits filed against Internet users caught sharing music and movies online.

Besides the lawsuits, the entertainment industry has deliberately polluted file-sharing networks with poor-quality copies of songs and falsely named files, among other tactics, to frustrate Internet thieves.

By Ted Bridis, The Associated Press
Source.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Microsoft Sued After Windows 10 Upgrade “Destroyed Users’ Computers”
    In the lawsuit documents (via The Reg), the plaintiffs explain that Microsoft did not “exercise reasonable care in designing, formulating, and manufacturing the Windows 10 upgrade,” becoming responsible for damages caused to users in the form of data loss and hardware issues.
  • WebTorrent Desktop: Instant Video Streaming App for Linux Desktop
    WebTorrent Desktop is a cross-platform open source torrent client with which you can instantly stream audio and video torrent files without waiting to completely download them. It features a beautiful and modern User Interface, streaming support for videos from Internet Archive, music from Creative Commons, and audiobooks from Librivox, and has the ability to talk to BitTorrent and WebTorrent peers while providing a seamless User Experience.
  • Humble Store has some noteworthy deals on this weekend
  • clr-boot-manager now available in Solus
    We’re happy to announce the rollout of clr-boot-manager in our stable repository. clr-boot-manager, from the Clear Linux Project For Intel Architecture, enables a more bulletproof update experience by handling the maintenance and garbage collection of kernels, as well as configuration of the bootloader itself (i.e. GRUB2 for Legacy Boot, goofiboot for UEFI boot on Solus). Furthermore, it enables us to retain older, known-working kernels, so in the event a kernel upgrade results in the inability to boot, you’ll still be able to roll back to the last good kernel.
  • Ubuntu vs Arch Linux
    Comparing Ubuntu to Arch Linux. Focus is entirely on the underlying system, as Arch don’t offer a specific interface to compare with Ubuntu’s Unity desktop.
  • Packaging Ishiiruka-Dolphin (GameCube/Wii Emulator)
  • Red Hat Inc (RHT) To Kick Off Another Week Of Big Earnings Reports
  • Debian Project Leader elections 2017
    It's that time of year again for the Debian Project: the elections of its Project Leader! The Project Leader position is described in the Debian Constitution.

today's howtos

Canonical and Ubuntu

  • RADV & ANV Vulkan Drivers Are One Command Away On Ubuntu 17.04
    Similar to Ubuntu 16.10, the Mesa Vulkan drivers are not present by default on new Ubuntu installations. But to get the packaged Vulkan drivers, simply sudo apt install mesa-vulkan-drivers. When running some tests on Ubuntu 17.04 this weekend, I was a bit surprised to see that Mesa's Intel ANV and Radeon RADV drivers aren't present by default -- since it's been one year since the Vulkan 1.0 debut and the ANV/RADV drivers have matured a lot during this time. There's also more and more software becoming available that can make use of Vulkan while personally wishing for more Linux desktops to push Vulkan. But it's easy to install the Vulkan drivers as mentioned. Similarly, vulkan-utils isn't installed by default.
  • Wishful Thinking Of Non-Free Software Makers
    Regardless of my personal problems with non-Free software, the world has largely accepted FLOSS to SAS’s chagrin. I guess Canonical should be glad except they barely mention “Linux” on their site. What’s with that? They are like some purveyors of non-Free software that talk about the benefits of their products without even mentioning what the software actually does as if that’s best kept secret…
  • 2017: Should Linux Benchmarking Still Be Mostly Done With Ubuntu?
    Every year or so it comes up how some users believe that at Phoronix we should be benchmarking with Antergos/Arch, Debian, or [insert here any other distribution] instead of mostly using Ubuntu for our Linux benchmarking. That discussion has come back up in recent days. In our forums and Twitter the past few days, that discussion seems to have come up by some users requesting I use a different Linux distribution than Ubuntu as the main test platform for all of our benchmarking. As I've said before, Ubuntu is used given it's the most popular when it comes to Linux desktop usage as well as significant usage of it on servers / workstations / cloud. But I have no tie to it beyond focusing upon using the Linux distribution that's used by the most folks for obtaining the maximum relevance to users, gamers, and enthusiasts reading said articles. And for allowing easy comparisons / out-of-the-box expectations. On my main production system I still use Fedora Workstation as my personal favorite and in the basement server room there are a variety of operating systems -- both BSDs and Linux and from Antergos to openSUSE and Debian.

Linux Devices, Tizen, and Android