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Grokster Wins Big in Ninth Circuit

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the this-is-a-big-deal-people dept.

The Courts 386

The Importance of writes "Grokster has won big in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Read the decision: [PDF]. It is a very strong decision, basically bringing the Sony-Betamax decision into the modern age. Of course, the decision does make it clear that if Congress wants to change the law, they can (cough*INDUCE Act*cough). Read the whole thing, the actual opinion is only 18 single-column pages. See also, commentary from Jason Schultz, Ernest Miller, Cory Doctorow, and Ed Felten. And don't forget to thank EFF."

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386 comments

WOW (5, Funny)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016860)

Holy fucking shit people. There has to be some kind of a catch. Common sense just doesn't *win* like this. There has to be something wrong.

--Stephen

Re:WOW (3, Insightful)

synthparadox (770735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016889)

Common sense? Huh? What's that? :P We all know that common sense doesn't really exist for us /.ers, cuz that would mean we wouldn't be here right now... we'd be doing something productive (ahhhh!)

Re:WOW (1, Interesting)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016934)

"There has to be some kind of a catch"

The catch is more end-user lawsuits...

Re:WOW (4, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017111)

Good. People distributing copyrighted material without permission of the owners are breaking the law. These distributors are the folks that should end up in court, not the folks writing software with plenty of legal uses. I would much rather have millions of end user lawsuits than laws telling me what kind of software can be written. If Grokster would have lost then every hacker that had ever worked on a piece of software that copied bits (from cp to ftpd) could have been liable for someone else's bad actions.

Personally I hope that the RIAA is successful in shutting down music file swapping. I can get along without a free copy of the newest Brittney Spears song, but I couldn't live with the type of Internet that the RIAA wants to create through legislation.

Re:WOW (4, Insightful)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016936)

The catch is that this is a court of appeals. There's no way that the Supreme Court will deny the inevitable certiorari petition that the labels will be filing, which means that today's decision will quickly become moot. The court of appeals is not the appropriate venue to decide a point of law of this magnitude, and it's not going to.

Re:WOW (3, Funny)

Tongo (644233) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016959)

Common sense just doesn't *win* like this.

Especially with the 9th Circus Court of Appeal.

Re:WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10016981)

the catch is that this *is* the most activist and most highly over turned federal court in the nation.

Re:WOW (4, Insightful)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017043)

Would you please explain to me why "the most activist" appellate court just issued a highly restrained opinion refusing to expand the scope of contributory and vicarious infringement? If the 9th Circuit were truly activist they would have caved in to the demands of MGM and the others and issued a ruling inconsistent with present statuory law, creating new positive law from the bench. This court is not activist, it is merely more liberal than many courts, just as the 4th Circuit is more conservative than most. Disagreement with the opinion is not an adequate basis for labeling a court "activist."

Re:WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017143)

By activist I believe he means that usually, instead of ruling on the law, they create new law through their rulings. If this means they are more "liberal", we definatly don't need any more of these types of judges around.

Re:WOW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017021)

its the 9th circuit.

which pretty much gauranteees an appeal that will be reversed :)

Re:WOW (0, Troll)

redfcat76 (772716) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017084)

I feel bad for you. I love all the republicans on this site voting people "flamebait" for saying something Rush wouldn't say.

Rush Limbaugh is a god and I would suck his dick for a dollar and he fucking rules by the way.
So please don't mod me down. Bush is GOD :)
And I don't have brain damage for getting slammed into the pavement 100 times as a cheerleeder in 3rd grade. Republicans rule and always vote in favor of decency and never cause they mommies and daddies voted that way :)

Re:WOW (5, Insightful)

Shadowlion (18254) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017098)

There has to be some kind of a catch.

The biggest catch is that the decision explicitly notes that Congress has the ability to render the decision moot by passing more restrictive copyright legislation (e.g., the INDUCE act).

So even in the "best case" scenario for the companies, where this goes all the way to the US Supreme Court and is affirmed, all Congress has to do is pass the INDUCE act. The decision is overturned, Grokster and company get new lawsuits filed against them, and given how ridiculously broad the INDUCE act is, they will almost certainly lose.

There's your catch.

Re:WOW (4, Informative)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017141)

That is hardly a catch. Congress always has the ability to change laws, that is the purpose of the Congress.

The catch (1)

russeljns (806466) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017272)

is that Congress can and probably will enact legislation which invalidates this. Open Secrets [opensecrets.org] has a good listing of campaign contributions - take a look, we're screwed whether it's Democrats or Republicans in office. The entertainment industry expects something in return for their investments, and if history is any indicator, they will get it.

The most overturned appeals court? (5, Interesting)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016869)

Wasn't 9th the most overturned appeals court?

Re:The most overturned appeals court? (4, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016900)

If you check you will find out that they have had the most overturned cases by NUMBER, not by percentage.

They handle more cases that any other circuit court in the nation.

Re:The most overturned appeals court? (4, Informative)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017230)

If you would check (I notice you didn't provide a source) you would see that the 9th leads in overturned cases in both percentage and number. They are just barely the busiest circuit, sure, but the second busiest circuit (5th) with only a 3% smaller caseload is less than one third as likely to be reviewed by the Supreme Court Source. [centerfori...reedom.org]

Re:The most overturned appeals court? (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016902)

yes, but this decision isn't the sort that usually gets the 9th in trouble.

Re:The most overturned appeals court? (1, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016923)

Gee, I thought it was *exactly* the sort that gets the 9th in trouble- it's one that messes up the controls that the right wing conspiracy have put in place to keep the population down. Fair use is a *hippie commie* sort of thing, not the sort of thing any right-minded court would let loose, therfore it will be overturned.

Re:The most overturned appeals court? (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017038)

Yeah, cause we all know that right-wingers are the only ones with a vested interest in copyright controls.

Re:The most overturned appeals court? (3, Interesting)

ElForesto (763160) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016928)

That they are. Why do you think it's often called the 9th Circus?

On a more serious note, I'm glad to see that judges are restraining themselves from creating more laws. Thank you Michigan Supreme Court for reminding the judiciary that the courts are the expositors of law, not the creators.

Re:The most overturned appeals court? (1)

johnnyb (4816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016976)

What case are you referring to?

Re:The most overturned appeals court? (1)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017122)

Most likely the case discussed in this article:

Poletown Reversed [findlaw.com]

Disclaimer: the article doesn't really make the slightest pretense of being unbiased but it does highlight the issue well.

9th circus court of schlamiels. (1)

yecrom2 (461240) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016943)

The were and still are the most overturned federal appeals court in the country. Occasionaly being overturned by themselves when they really go out on a limb.

matt

Re:9th circus court of schlamiels. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017053)

From the wikipedia entry: [wikipedia.org]
It is often called "the most overturned appeals court in the United States", but this is mostly a product of its high caseload. On a percentage basis, the circuit is not overturned much more than any other. (Indeed, in 2003 it had the least reversal rate of any appeals court with more than five cases reviewed.[1] (http://goldsteinhowe.com/blog/files/SemiFinalOT20 03CircuitScorecard.pdf [goldsteinhowe.com] )

Amusingly, this particular court is a frequent target for confused US conservatives in spite of the fact that (again, quoting the Wikipedia entry) it's a strong supported of states' rights (even if the state is sometimes psychotically liberal, re: California)
"The court is also on the leading edge of federalism, recently refusing to enforce federal laws against homemade pornography (US v. McCoy), homemade firearms (US v. Stewart), and homegrown marijuana (Raich v. Ashcroft). The court reasoned that application of such laws exceeded Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause, basing the decision on the Supreme Court case United States v. Lopez."

Re:9th circus court of schlamiels. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017086)

From looking at those numbers, seen another way, the 9th Circuit Court gets the most affirmation from the US Supreme Court. So the 9th Circuit Court is the most-supported in the nation.

Haha - darn those liberal Supreme Court hippies!

Re:9th circus court of schlamiels. (4, Funny)

Westech (710854) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017174)

From the wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] : It is often called "the most overturned appeals court in the United States", but this is mostly a product of its high caseload. On a percentage basis...

It looks like the Wikipedia article that you referenced is one of the most overturned articles in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ! This is one of those controversial articles that is edited back and forth over and over again by people with opposing viewpoints.

Re:The most overturned appeals court? (5, Insightful)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017019)

Here's pretty good article that discusses the rate at which 9th Circuit decisions are overturned.

9th Circuit article [centerfori...reedom.org]

Based on what little editorial comment is contained in the article, this is not the sort of decision that tends to get the 9th circuit in trouble (to the extent getting overturned equates getting in trouble). Instead, the 9th circuit tends to get in trouble when its judges follow what their conscience tells them rather than what binding precedent dictates. In this case, it appears that the court was following US Supreme Court precedent to the letter.

Grokster quickly acted (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10016871)

Trading the court decision for the latest Jenna Haze porn and 7 mp3s to be named later.

Damned activist judges... (1)

aborchers (471342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017108)

Trying to change the definition of copyright!

Good! (-1, Offtopic)

Phoenix-IT (801337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016882)

Good! I was running out of ways to bring Cocane into the country unnoticed!

Re:Good! (0, Offtopic)

Phoenix-IT (801337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016911)

It was a joke... i.e. Bring it in through peer-to-peer...

Re:Good! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10016930)

If you have to explain it, it wasn't funny.

Re:Good! (1)

Phoenix-IT (801337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017136)

Actually, maybe I just assumed the masses to be a little shaper than they actually are... I'll post a lengthly laymen's version next time.

Re:Good! Brought Back ON topic (-1, Offtopic)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016953)

How does this help? Are you thinking you can use P2P software and nanofactories or something to smuggle physical objects? That would be cool-and it's something you could almost use today's nanofactories for (assuming you had a good supply of the elements that are the building blocks of the chemical you are synthesizing).

Re:Good! Brought Back ON topic (-1, Offtopic)

Phoenix-IT (801337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016967)

It was a JOKE! Good lord, some people have no sense of humor.

yayyy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10016884)

first post!

Election issue? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Writer (746272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016887)

Does anybody think that the US congress would have second thoughts concerning passing laws with the upcoming election? Or is this just a temporary victory?

Re:Election issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017241)

the checks have cleared already. they dont care
they dont want to however piss off any voters.

Re:Election issue? (2, Insightful)

wwahammy (765566) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017266)

Its not an election issue because few people realize how significant fair use is. Congress will pass the INDUCE act when it comes up. Our only hope is that they can't get through in by election time (doubtful) and then it will just die (very, very doubtful). The INDUCE Act is going to pass sadly enough because the issues involved are not of interest to most people except large corporations that have so much to gain from it.

Hallelujah! (5, Funny)

tokered (801161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016890)

This is amazing!!!! I am jumping up and down in my office, my coworkers think I am crazy!!!

Notice that the judge also spoke in support of the Betamax decision!!! Take that Hatch!!!!

Do you think that this sends a strong statment to Congress? Does this reverse the Napster ruling?

Don't jump up and down yet... (5, Interesting)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016979)

First of all, the technology in question must be equally available for non-infringing uses. Napster wasn't. It was specifically designed for MP3 trading, and that's the big reason why it got smacked.

Secondly, the court decision clearly leaves the door open for Congress to take up the matter. They feel that the court is not able to make decisions about new tech (what they call 'Art') - that's Congress' job. Think they won't be listening to Big Music's dollars? You bet your ass they will.

Look at the constant extension of copyright in the case of interests like Disney. If Mickey Mouse's copyright gets extended any further they might as well just say, 'Infinity + 1' and be done with it.

Finally, this still won't prevent you from getting sued by the music and movie industries for sharing their material. All this does is postphone the final decision on PtoP. The question is whether or not Congress will limit the technology to non-infringing uses (almost impossible to do), or ban it altogether (more likely - it's easier).

Re:Don't jump up and down yet... (3, Insightful)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017067)

First of all, the technology in question must be equally available for non-infringing uses. Napster wasn't. It was specifically designed for MP3 trading, and that's the big reason why it got smacked.

Forgive me for my outsider insight, for I've never used napster or any similar class of software technology. As you said, Napster was specifically for MP3 trading. This says nothing of the nature of MP3's, for instance public domain performances or songs distributed through Napster by the copyright holder. In that sense, the technology was equally available for non-infringing uses. Most people just decided to use the technology for trading songs they didn't have the right to distribute under U.S. copyright law.

but the technology itself was equally available for non-infringing uses. I could have as easily distributed mp3 files of my armpit making farting sounds, as I could have distributed my entire CD collection, no?

Re:Don't jump up and down yet... (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017203)

I think the problem was that Napster by definition was an MP3 trading technology. Could it have traded other files? Sure. And it did. All you had to do was rename files to that extension.

What was attacked by the courts in their case was the centralized directory system. Since Napster was hosting the directory servers, the courts assumed then that it had control over what was going through it's network.

What the current crop of PtoP apps have done is not limit the types of files being traded. Without limiting themselves, it's hard to say whether Kazza or Morpheus is primarily designed for music trading - legal or not. Broadening the scope of the app made the courts have to seriously think about whether they could apply such specific law here.

Re:Don't jump up and down yet... (2, Informative)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017105)

As someone else pointed out, Napster was equally available for non-infringing uses. MP3 can be used to encode non-protected material just as easily as protected material. Further, it was trivial to add an .mp3 extension to your text, video, or other file and use Napster to exchange those.

More importantly, and thankfully, Congress cannot extend copyright rights to "infinity + 1" though it may seem they are trying at times. The Constitution says that copyright and patent monopolies may be granted for limited times. Limited is a very fuzzy term, as the Eldridge case showed, but at the very least they can only extend incrementally in limited terms forever, and I think people will eventually get tired of that and do something.

Re:Don't jump up and down yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017155)

Right, Infinity+1 is unconstitutional. However, Infinity-1 isn't ;)

Re:Don't jump up and down yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017198)

Think about your math theory, if infinity is an unlimited number, infinity-1 is still not limited, it is merely referential of an unlimited number

Re:Don't jump up and down yet... (1)

mmusson (753678) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017171)

Infinity + 1 is still Infinity... (hey, we are all geeks here)

This decision isn't directly about copyrights. They have no said it is legal to download you favorite musician's mp3.

What they are saying is that if you do, you are the one breaking the law and not the authors of the software program that you use to download the mp3.

The '+1' is important... (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017226)

...because it leaves you with the illusion that copyrights are limited (as prescribed in the constitution)...

Re:Don't jump up and down yet... (2, Insightful)

gruntled (107194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017231)

I believe the ability of the political process to truly restrict Fair Use (in the long term, at least) with new laws is ultimately limited, given the relationship of Fair Use to the First Amendment. The Supreme Court created Fair Use based on free speech concerns; given this pedigree, it's likely that the SC would overturn any attempt to restrict Fair Use based purely on economic protectionism. (Yeah, this is a convervative court, in every sense of the word, but that just makes it harder for them to ignore precedent)>

Re:Don't jump up and down yet... (1)

kent.dickey (685796) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017264)

More importantly, the decision said that this is only a partial decision--other matters were not resolved. The key paragraph from page 25 of the decision:

Resolution of these issues does not end the case. As the district court clearly stated, its decision was limited to the specific software in use at the time of the district court decision. The Copyright Owners have also sought relief based on previous versions of the software, which contain significant--and perhaps crucial--differences from the software at issue. We express no opinion as to those issues.


So grokster and others may still be found liable for older software versions.

Re:Hallelujah! (1)

pinchhazard (728983) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016993)

Did you RTFA? They discuss the different methods of file-sharing, and Napster is included in the discussion!!!

Take that Hatch, indeed.

Re:Hallelujah! (1)

tokered (801161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017042)

RTFA? leet interp please?

I am still happy about this decision on a thursday afternoon. will make my weekend that much more cheerful =)

Re:Hallelujah! (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017107)

If you are *actually* jumping up and down because of this - your co-workers are probably right.

I told you GWB is evil and controls the courts (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10016892)

Oh, wait..

So would I be right in thinking... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10016904)

That their only approach now will to be going for the end users...
Oh Good!

Re:So would I be right in thinking... (2, Insightful)

Soko (17987) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017091)

That their only approach now will to be going for the end users...
Oh Good!


That's who Hatch's minions should be going after - the people using P2P software for illegal purposes. That's not my opinion, mind you, but a statement of fact. Giving someone a copy of a copyrighted work without the copyright holders permission is illegal under current law.

Whether they actually can stem the P2P trading of "their property" in the digital age remains to be seen, however.

Soko

More proof! (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016905)


Netcraft confirms it: the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is not dying.

Re:More proof! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017270)

Netcraft confirms it: the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is not dying.
Although the judges on the court are... (old farts)

This is interesting for a number of reasons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10016926)

But mostly because of the feeling it engenders in my loins. It's something like a tingling, something like a stinging--It's physical esperance, the boundless hope of a superior lay within the next few hours.

To that end, I have contacted my network of pimps and put out an APB for hos. Yes, I'm in the midst of an all-out booty call. I hope to post the results of this booty call on Slashdot.

Until it comes to pass, though, I will continue listening to Prince's most pornographic songs at maximum volume, consuming alcohol, and gently touching my semi-engorged genitalia.

I hope everyone is having an excellent Thursday.

--The Trolliterati

Read? (4, Funny)

baudilus (665036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016938)

HAHA you said 'read the whole thing' LOL

Like that'll ever happen on slashdot...

Re:Read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10016961)

Since it's a PDF, it won't be happening at all for an hour or so.

In other news (5, Funny)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016945)

Orrin Hatch's campaign contributions just grew by hundredfold.

A sentence or two... (4, Insightful)

cytoman (792326) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016957)

... about what the whole issue is about would help greatly.

I've noticed that the tech story summaries are always devoid of any explanatory sentences... just a bunch of tech-talk. Granted that a huge majority of /. readers are techies, but learning to put things in simpler non-tech terms would help commoners understand these news stories.

Re:A sentence or two... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017094)

It's slashdot. We're all supposed to be psychic and immediately understand what a summary is talking about without any explanation. Haven't you been paying attention to all the other times it's happened?

But seriously, would somebody care to summarize what this is all about?

Re:A sentence or two... (1)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017137)

Media Companies sued File Sharing Company. File Sharing Company claimed they were not facilitating copyright infringement because their product/service has "substantial non-infringing uses" and they cannot control their user's actions. Court Agrees. Everyone is happy in /.land until SCOTUS takes up the case in October.

Grokster doesn't control the users! (1)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016964)

Well it can be argued that (to some extent) Grokster does slightly benefit from piracy, it's not their fault that people don't care about copyrights. Think of it this way: can you legally hold an ISP responsible for one users actions? Ofcourse not, and that's why you will have a hard time trying to successfully sue any of todays P2P software providers. Now if the law changes....

Explanation? (1)

Herms (577068) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016974)

For those of us who don't know what the Sony-Betamax decision was, can someone please explain? What are the implications of this? Thanks!

Re:Explanation? (4, Informative)

andfarm (534655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017018)

Wikipedia sez: Sony Corp v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984) (Docket Number: 81-1687), is also known as the Betamax case. The Supreme Court of the United States found that the making of individual copies of complete television shows for home use is considered fair use, and that the manufacture of devices, such as Betamax or VCRs, to facilitate that is legal. Arguments were presented on January 18, 1983, and re-presented on October 3, 1983. The decision was announced on January 17, 1984. [source [wikipedia.org] ]

Re:Explanation? (1)

bbdd (733681) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017092)

crap, you hit submit while i was still previewing mine! that will teach me to take the time to recheck my link...

Re:Explanation? (1)

bbdd (733681) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017045)

more here [wikipedia.org]

Re:Explanation? (1)

bbdd (733681) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017102)

ok, then, due to the fact that my parent post is "redundant", i offer this to redeem myself.

still more [oyez.org]

Re:Explanation? (1)

Johnny Doughnuts (767951) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017046)

It was concerning the legality of recording television shows for personal usage.

Re:Explanation? (0)

TejWC (758299) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017076)

For those of us who don't know what the Sony-Betamax decision was, can someone please explain? What are the implications of this? Thanks!

In a nutshell: Sony was pissed off that people were using their VCRs to record or possibly pirate video media. Sony wanted to make sure that Betamax didn't have the "record" function in their products to prevent piracy. In the end, the judge ruled that its ok to have a "record" function since it is not always used for piracy.

Re:Explanation? (1)

Compenguin (175952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017170)

Bzzz.... Wrong SONY made betamax, Universal was pissed about infringement. It was not Sony v. Betamax but Sony v. Universal.

Re:Explanation? (3, Informative)

The Slashdotted (665535) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017079)

Sony v. Universal Studios "The Betamax Case" was a huge legal victory for fair use, stating devices that could be used for piracy, are not illegal, so long as their not universally used for piracy. If it went the other way, the VCR/Betamax/Ipod is as bad as a lockpick or crowbar. http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/sony_v_universal_de cision.php [eff.org]

Re:Explanation? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017197)

The "Betamax Case"(1983-1984) was officially titled Sony Corp v. Universal City Studios [wikipedia.org] , was an attempt by Big Media to sue Sony for manufacturing Betamax video tape recorders that could be used for copyright infringement. The Supreme Court ruled that:
a. home recording of television programs under certain circumstances is considered "fair use" and is therefore legal, and
b. that the manufacturer(Sony) of devices for this legal use could not be held liable for individuals using their product for illegal uses.(copyright infringement)

(Very abbreviated, but that's the gist.)

Conservatives and the 9th Circuit (1, Interesting)

revscat (35618) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016975)

Seeing as how Limbaugh and the other conservatives tend to go rabid at just about every decision the 9th hands down, and in fact seem to thrive on those decisions, I imagine that this will go largely uncommented upon by the conservative community. It'd upset their faux populist image to come out so loudly in favor of the corporations that support them. They won't like it, but they won't be able to say anything about it.

This case is fairly obscure anyway from a mainstream media perspective, but Limbaugh, et. al. tend to take special pains to notice anything the 9th does, what with them thar fedruhl judges legislatin from da bench and attackin our Christian heritage and whatnot.

In any event, good for Grokster and good for the EFF. Nice for them to come out on the winning side of a case every great once in a while. Makes me feel like my money isn't going completely to waste. Cripes, when was the last time the EFF won a case? Reno v. ACLU?

Re:Conservatives and the 9th Circuit (5, Insightful)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017176)

Any true Conservative should have no problem with this decision. This is a perfect example of a party asking a court to create new law and the court refusing. There is binding precedent mandating this outcome and the court properly came to this decision. Now, there still remains the question whether Limbaugh is a true Conservative, but I'll leave that to others to fight over.

Re:Conservatives and the 9th Circuit (4, Informative)

ewhac (5844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017209)

Cripes, when was the last time the EFF won a case? Reno v. ACLU?

The EFF has been doing fairly well in the DeCSS case -- DVD-CCA vs. Bunner [eff.org] . The court hasn't given them a slam-dunk, but the EFF has been whittling away slowly and surely against the DVD-CCA's baseless claims of trade secret "misappropriation" and "improper" reverse-engineering.

DVD-CCA has claimed they have since obtained a patent on CSS, so they may attempt to enjoin distribution that way, but it looks fairly clear that their trade secret suit is going to ultimately fail. Too bad it took the court four years to figure it out.

Schwab

Re:Conservatives and the 9th Circuit (5, Insightful)

bnenning (58349) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017223)

imagine that this will go largely uncommented upon by the conservative community. It'd upset their faux populist image to come out so loudly in favor of the corporations that support them. They won't like it, but they won't be able to say anything about it.

Or it's possible that conservatives might actually support this ruling. You know, the whole individual freedom and limited government thing. (Which I freely admit the current administration has shown little respect for).

Cripes, when was the last time the EFF won a case? Reno v. ACLU?

Sklyarov mostly won, so that might count.

Re:Conservatives and the 9th Circuit (4, Insightful)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017292)

So let me get this straight...

-conservative commentators hate the 9th circuit: agreed, the 9th circuit is easily the most liberal bench in the nation, thus it makes sense that conservatives would hate them.

-they (conservatives) would love to jump on this decision as more proof of how 'out of touch' the 9th circuit is: disagree I've yet to hear a conservative pundit blast the 9th circuit just randomly... the criticism is usually associated with a specific (or collection of) rulings. Thus your leap that conservatives would attack the ruling simply because of its source is a bit of a stretch.

-but somehow they must restrain from criticising the 9th, because "upset their faux populist image to come out so loudly in favor of the corporations that support them": strongly disagree You think that the movie/music/entertainment industry supports the conservatives in this country? try again [opensecrets.org] They (the industry that you claim supports conservatives) give twice as much to the Democrats as to the Republicans. And look at the list of top 20 recipients [opensecrets.org] . 3 Republicans, 17 Dems. If they weren't hedging their bets and giving to both Bush and Kerry, the total dolar figure would be even further skewed toward the Democrats.

Otherwise, nice attempt to slander the views of those you disagree with...

Oh,... and bonus points for this display of maturity:

what with them thar fedruhl judges legislatin from da bench and attackin our Christian heritage and whatnot

Summary of the case (5, Informative)

Jack Greenbaum (7020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10016978)

It would have been useful if this post had mentioned what the case was about. Here is the summary paragraph from the PDF:

This appeal presents the question of whether distributors of peer-to-peer file-sharing computer networking software may be held contributorily or vicariously liable for copyright infringements by users. Under the circumstances presented by this case, we conclude that the defendants are not liable for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement and affirm the district court's partial grant of summary judgment.

You would have been hip to this hours ago... (1)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017055)

... if you read The Volokh Conspiracy. [volokh.com]

Only Matter of Time (3, Insightful)

NoSuchGuy (308510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017031)

It's only a matter of time until companies bribes lobby for a new law.

Reasons for this new law:
- companies suffer from bad business models
- terrorists use P2P to communicate
- terrorists coordinate their attacks with P2P
- corrupt politicans
- its a communist thing to share things
- WMD (This time for real)

Think about it!

Re:Only Matter of Time (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017085)

- WMD (This time for real)

Warez of Mass Distribution? :)

Re:Only Matter of Time (4, Funny)

mehaiku (754091) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017165)

You forgot all of that filthy smut exchanged freely with no corporate oversite! Won't someone PLEASE think of the children!

Re:Only Matter of Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017212)

Goddammit! Stop HELPING THEM!!!!!!! :)


Lameness filter. Useless text. Blah Blah Blah

Uh oh! (4, Funny)

mehaiku (754091) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017034)

I, for one, welcome our new copyright infringing, ip thieving, file-sharing, socialist, everyone-share-and-share alike overlords. I guess the RIAA bribe, I mean campaign contribution, didn't make it through on time.

the appeals court clearly "got it" (5, Informative)

The_Bagman (43871) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017061)

as Felten and others noted on their blogs, the money quote is:
As to the question at hand, the district court's grant of partial summary judgment to the Software Distributors is clearly dictated by applicable precedent. The Copyright Owners urge a re-examination of the law in the light of what they believe to be proper public policy, expanding exponentially the reach of the doctrines of contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. Not only would such a renovation conflict with binding precedent, it would be unwise. Doubtless, taking that step would satisfy the Copyright Owners' immediate economic aims. However, it would also alter general copyright law in profound ways with unknown ultimate consequences outside the present context.

Further, as we have observed, we live in a quicksilver technological environment with courts ill-suited to fix the flow of internet innovation. AT&T Corp. v. City of Portland, 216 F.3d 871, 876 (9th Cir. 1999). The introduction of new technology is always disruptive to old markets, and particularly to those copyright owners whose works are sold through wellestablished distribution mechanisms. Yet, history has shown that time and market forces often provide equilibrium in balancing interests, whether the new technology be a player piano, a copier, a tape recorder, a video recorder, a personal computer, a karaoke machine, or an MP3 player. Thus, it is prudent for courts to exercise caution before restructuring liability theories for the purpose of addressing specific market abuses, despite their apparent present magnitude.

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." 464 U.S. at 456 (quoting Deepsouth Packing Co. v. Laitram Corp., 406 U.S. 518, 530 (1972)).

re: (5, Funny)

unformed (225214) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017083)

It's April 1st dude.

Wait, no it's no. WTF? Crap, it's the end of the world, run for your lives!

No Context? (1)

ryth (129183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017087)

While I wish I could get excited about this decision, I really can't because this post has absolutely NO context, and neither do any of the links?

I live outside of the USA and haven't been following this case so I have idea what i'm being implored to be happy about. I think the moderators need to be more stringent ensuring posts make sense.

For all I know this ruling could mean CowboyNeal got his zoning permit for a new Hot Dog stand!

Re:No Context? (3, Insightful)

tokered (801161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017144)

Grokster and Morpheus are p2p file trading networks. There has been ongoing litigation (initiated by the record industry) that basically claims these services and others like them are responsible for the decline in record sales.

So the judge ruling in favor of the p2p networking has HUGE implications. This is a federal appeals court, the last arena in the judicial branch where the record companies can attempt to bully around distributers. So basically, this means: P2P file sharing isn't inherently illegal! This is the equivalent of the sony betamax decision that is discussed a few posts ahead of your comment. Because P2P isn't soley for illegal file sharing, P2P networks are not illegal. Joy! oh JOY!

Re:No Context? (4, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017190)

The decision PDF explains everything, if you care to read it carefully: Napster was pretty much sued out of existence because the judge decided that they could stop users from trading pirated mp3s, but didn't do enough to stop them. Today's decision says that Grokster does not have the ability of stopping anybody from sharing pirated mp3s, so they cannot be liable for anything

So they will either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017139)

go after end users, or say fuckit, there's too many of them..lets make a whole new recording medium that will take another 10-15 years for people to learn how to copy and distribute freely. Of course, that will mean EVERYONE will have to buy a new player for this new medium.

Didn't the same thing happen with cassette tapes, 8 tracks, records, etc?

Straight out of Larry Lessig's Book (2, Informative)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017207)

It sounds like the judge read and took to heart Larry Lessig's book, Free Culture [free-culture.cc] . A free download and a must-read!

Some verbiage I didn't expect to see: (4, Interesting)

eidechse (472174) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017217)

"From the advent of the player piano, every new means of reproducing sound has struck a dissonant chord with musical copyright owners, often resulting in federal litigation."

Get down with the catchy metaphor...I like it.

Is this normal style in opinions or is this rare?

Re:Some verbiage I didn't expect to see: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10017257)

Is this normal style in opinions or is this rare?

Is it really surprising that people whose very livelihood depends on the meaning of words and phrases would appreciate stuble wit?

Could mean trouble from Congress... but maybe not! (4, Insightful)

g_adams27 (581237) | more than 9 years ago | (#10017294)


On one hand, this could seriously increase the pressure on Congress to pass an INDUCE-style bill to rip the heart out of P2P programs - something that a lot of Democrats and Republicans are eager to do...

... but on the other hand, consumers aren't totally friendless in Congress. Richard Boucher (liberal Democrat) has consistently stood on the side of consumers and is pushing his anti-DMCA bill (the Digital Media Consumer's Rights Act (DMCR)). And Joe Barton (conservative Republican) is the head of the powerful House Energy and Commerce committee. He has publically expressed his opposition to further DMCA/INDUCE-style bills. And since the DMCR is going through his committee, his opinion will count for a lot in this fight.

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