August 19, 2004

MGM v. Grokster appeal victory, and The INDUCE Act Cometh

As will be noted by everyone in the whole copyfight universe, the MGM v. Grokster appeal concerning copyright liability for file-sharing programs, has been decided in a victory for the civil-liberties side (congratulations!)

In short, from the evidence presented, the district court quite correctly concluded that the software was capable of substantial noninfringing uses and, therefore, that the Sony-Betamax doctrine applied.

As also will be noted, this is not the end of the story, and there's likely to be further action from Congress:

Indeed, the Supreme Court has admonished us to leave such matters to Congress. In Sony-Betamax, the Court spoke quite clearly about the role of Congress in applying copyright law to new technologies. As the Supreme Court stated in that case, "The direction of Art. I is that Congress shall have the power to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. When, as here, the Constitution is permissive, the sign of how far Congress has chosen to go can come only from Congress."

As I said a while ago in an old post concerning Grokster, "Streamcast copyright win, vs. LaMacchia case",

This reminds me much of the concluding part of the LaMacchia case:

This is not, of course, to suggest that there is anything edifying about what LaMacchia is alleged to have done. If the indictment is to be believed, one might at best describe his actions as heedlessly irresponsible. and at worst as nihilistic, self-indulgent, and lacking in any fundamental sense of values. Criminal as well as civil penalties should probably attach to willful, multiple infringements of copyrighted software even absent a commercial motive on the part of the infringer. One can envision ways that the copyright law could be modified to permit such prosecution. But, "'[i]t is the legislature, not the Court which is to define a crime, and ordain its punishment.'

And the result there was the .NET act . I wonder what we'll get here?

And now, the answer is clear - IICA/INDUCE Act!

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight , legal | on August 19, 2004 03:14 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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