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Phil St. Romain
03-29-2005, 08:44 PM
See this link (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=558&ncid=738&e=1&u=/ap/20050330/ap_on_go_su_co/scotus_file_sharing).

The entertainment industry's lawyer, Donald Verrilli Jr., said his clients have no interest in suing inventors who take steps to block customers from stealing. But Grokster and other file-sharing services actively encourage consumers to steal, Verrilli said.

Verrilli called Grokster's software "a gigantic engine of infringement" that thieves use to steal 2.6 billion songs, movies and other digital files each month.

Looks like this will be a biggie with repercussions for gnutella file sharing as well, no?

What do you all think of this case? There won't be a ruling until the summer, most likely. How do you think it will come out? Why?

gsparks
03-30-2005, 12:05 PM
In a way, this is the BetaMax legal fight all over again... in BetaMax, the Court held that despite the fact that users could use the equipment to illegally copy/duplicate movies, that was insignificant compared to the benefits of the technology. Here, we're dealing with the benefits of file sharing vs. the risk of illegal use. While I'm a huge proponent of file sharing (legally, of course), this current case is different because of how prevalent illegal sharing has become... it's more than just theory and fear-mongering.

I hope the court comes down on the side of file sharing; however, this current court is difficult to read. It is conservative, pro-business and pro-law enforcement. At the same time, it has also vigorously upheld personal liberties.

In other words, I have no friggin' clue how it will come down.

CAlvarez
03-30-2005, 03:01 PM
I was happy paying for music until the RIAA started their gestapo tactics, and I immediately quit buying from anyone associated from them. Now it won't make any difference to me, or most of the people I know. I download songs from usenet after I hear them on internet radio or satellite. If I couldn't do that, I still wouldn't buy the CDs for one decent song, I'd just wait to hear it on the radio again. On a very rare occasion, some artist actually produces a decent album and I'll go buy it. Either way, it won't change the amount of the recording industry gets. Same for most of my friends, many of whom I've helped get started in using newsgroups to get their media.

Same with the MPAA and movies. Usenet has most anything, often before it hits theatres. Other than indie films, I'm proud to say I haven't given that industry a dime in years.

I'm dying to see what the MPAA is going to do about the new Divx DVD players. I just got one for my parents so I can mail/e-mail them Divx movies for them to watch, and they can stop giving the movie industry any money too. Wal-mart is selling them for under $70, so they are suddenly available to anyone.

blubbernaut
03-30-2005, 06:05 PM
Other than indie films, I'm proud to say I haven't given that industry a dime in years.Unfortunately "that industry" doesn't just include fat cats getting obscenely rich with rubbish products; but also millions of extremely hard working, dedicated and talented people who live on the smell of an oily rag, just so they can make entertainment for everyone else.

Don't get me wrong, I'm similar to you (as probably 90% of us are) and like to try before I buy etc. and don't like paying top dollar for one gem in a pile of crap. But I think we need to be mindful of the long-term effects on the creative industries especially. The J-Lo's and Brad Pitt's of the world are actually few and far between, but there are acres of others getting very little for their efforts already, without us refusing to give a dime to their industry.

<begin debate> ;)

CAlvarez
03-30-2005, 06:17 PM
I agree and understand. I have friends in the industry, fitting that description exactly. You've seen some of their work if you've seen some of the top movies in the last decade.

They agree with me. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

To quote one of them, as closely as I can recall her words, "If we take the profit out of it for them, they can go back to being pimps, mobsters, and drug lords and get out of this industry."

The best I can do is support indie labels in both music and film, buy art from non-mainstream sources, and continue to teach people how to pirate mainstream media.

Phil St. Romain
03-30-2005, 06:59 PM
I think there's a difference between what's going on with file-sharing now and the earlier precedent of vcr players. While it's true that you can illegally use the latter, you generally have to first obtain a legitimate copy or else record it from the TV. In either case, some kind of money is first going to the movie industry. Same goes for cassette players and cassette tape sales . . . even CDs, to a large extent.

File-sharing is a different matter, however. I just finally trashed Limewire and Acquisition a couple of years ago because it was too easy to illegally obtain software (who cares about movies? :;) and, well, it just didn't seem right to download stuff I didn't pay for and which wasn't freeware. I think file-sharing like Grokster and gnutella just make it too easy to be dishonest and don't provide any real safeguards against it other than a lame disclaimer that no one reads or cares much about anyway.

So what to do? Carlos is right that usenet has gotten around it for a long time, but you have to work a little harder at that and it's out in the open so anyone can see what's going on.

"If we take the profit out of it for them, they can go back to being pimps, mobsters, and drug lords and get out of this industry."

Sheesh! So the support people are mostly "pimps, mobsters and drug lords?" That explains a lot! :D

rotero
03-30-2005, 08:23 PM
It just seems ridiculous to make a certain technology illegal because it might allow for other illegal activity to take place. If this is the case, shouldn't we make fast cars illegal because they facilitate breaking speed limit laws? The perpetrators of the crime in that example are not the car manufacturers, they're the drivers. The perpetrators of copyright infringement are not the peer-to-peer networks, they're the people sharing protected works.

blubbernaut
03-30-2005, 08:25 PM
It's going to get worse before it gets better.

To quote one of them, as closely as I can recall her words, "If we take the profit out of it for them, they can go back to being pimps, mobsters, and drug lords and get out of this industry." It sure is gonna get worse, and I think that at least the music industry is going to have to face up to "new" technology real soon and jump on the bandwagon with a little more conviction to survive.

But unfortunately taking the profit out of the pond is really going to starve the little fish a lot earlier than the bigger fish. I've seen it in many industries when the work dries up, the bigger fish come looking to take over the little fish in order to keep their income up. Sure, eventually it comes back. But when you are talking about cultural and creative industries, it can cause irrevocable damage for decades.

I wish I could think of some middle ground...but I'm kind of busy downloading Stargate! ;)

CAlvarez
03-30-2005, 08:36 PM
I don't know that I agree with that. The little guys aren't making much money already, so they can't afford to lose much. Meaning that even a small reduction is unacceptable, and they'll simply have to go find another job. So if there's nobody producing content, or at least not for the big players, they can't make money. They have more to lose, but also can afford to lose more and still not starve. So I think they will be affected to a greater extent.

Cultural and creative work has existed for thousands of years without an industry to organize it. That's a very recent addition, and I think most of us would say it's for the worst. The heavily marketed "art" is most garbage that has no staying power and no long-term impact on our society. Art has never before been "popular" because there was no method to spread it around and market it. Then we acquired the technology to market it, and we started to equate popularity with success. I strongly believe that success is a miniscule measure of successful art.

Las_Vegas
03-30-2005, 10:22 PM
Well put Carlos! Thank you.

Phil St. Romain
03-30-2005, 10:36 PM
It just seems ridiculous to make a certain technology illegal because it might allow for other illegal activity to take place. If this is the case, shouldn't we make fast cars illegal because they facilitate breaking speed limit laws? The perpetrators of the crime in that example are not the car manufacturers, they're the drivers. The perpetrators of copyright infringement are not the peer-to-peer networks, they're the people sharing protected works.

Only, a speed limit is a variable that can be broken in city driving with even a slow car, so there's no one speed limit that applies across the range of driving conditions. OTOH, intellectual property is either free or it's not.

Your argument also sounds like the "guns don't kill people" one, yet restrictions on purchasing firearms have been passed almost everywhere.

It does come down to an issue of honesty, however, and whether the software makes it too easy to be dishonest.

rotero
03-30-2005, 10:44 PM
... intellectual property is either free or it's not.

Aren't there a number of different ways to license your intellectual property and make it available for people to use or modify?

It does come down to an issue of honesty, however, and whether the software makes it too easy to be dishonest.

This makes me think again of the car example. Or another one: locksmith tools make it easy to open doors you wouldn't normally be able to open, but we don't make them illegal or restrict who can buy them. Do you think that since the tools make it very easy to be dishonest, they should be made illegal and their sale should be stopped?

blubbernaut
03-30-2005, 11:19 PM
Calvarez: You may be right about mass marketed "art", but the point remains: when you look at the credits at the end of a movie, you see hundreds, if not thousands, of hard-working individuals who see nothing like the kind of profits the Rupert Murdochs of the world squeeze out of us. I fear for the unemployment levels of an industry that already runs at around 90% in some areas, if we take more and more away from them. Does Murdoch et. al. deserve the kind of profits they make out of other's hard work? Absolutely not. Should we try to rebalance reward for effort systems that are a million % out of balance? Probably. I'm just speculating that maybe the arguments we present about "fat cats" "crime bosses" "pimps" running a system justifying our "stealing" from them (as opposed to from 'independent' artists) is a little self-serving. Yes, a lot of it is crap. Yes, some people make way too much money from it. But they support a massive community of people working in all levels and all areas.
I'm conflicted about it myself.

CAlvarez
03-31-2005, 01:19 AM
I agree. I don't have a strong opinion on it in any direction. I can say that it's definitely not self-serving, as the small cost of rentals is not going to change my lifestyle. I'm not wealthy, but movie rental fees wouldn't hit the budget with any relevance. As it is we drop $60/mo on satellite, pretty much just so we can watch Discovery, Court TV, Animal Planet, and the other science/tech channels. I think we still have a Netflix subscription too.

Overall, I really don't think any of us are truly making a difference in their income. The industry likes to point out insanely high "losses," but they are completely bogus numbers. For one, they are based on the assumption that if a person watches a pirated movie, if it had not been available as a pirated copy, he would have watched it in the theatre instead. Untrue; I simply wouldn't watch it at all. That's not a "loss" at all.

Craig R. Arko
03-31-2005, 07:03 AM
What do you all think of this case? There won't be a ruling until the summer, most likely. How do you think it will come out? Why?

I think we live in a world with a lot of thieves in it. On all sides of the issue. This probably doesn't come as a huge shock to anybody, such state having existed for pretty much all of recorded history. ;)

I should probably mention that this will not affect the policy of locking threads promoting piracy in any form, which place the site at risk.

mkoreiwo
03-31-2005, 07:29 AM
Ah.....

A moral topic!

If you wish to be completely honest, if you didn't pay for it, and it is not offered free by the "owner", then it's not right to take it.

I agree there we live in a world where there are many "thieves". To diminish the act as inconsequential underscores the right of an artist, however rich or struggling, to earn a living. If you object to the excesses of Hollywood, or the mass market pop stars, just don't support them. That does not mean to in effect "steal" their work under the guise of "Well I wouldn't have paid for it to begin with, so they never would have gotten my money".

Greed is the issue at most levels of management, too many want too much, and the price of entertainment is getting ridiculous. $20 million for an actor/actress in a movie, $50 concert tickets, the list goes on and on....

I personally don't download any shared media, and have openly criticized friends who have done so.... Particularly in the struggling classical genre.....

So, there's my two cents....

Phil St. Romain
03-31-2005, 09:43 AM
I suppose vendors of intellectual property could take a drastic step of authorizing computers to use a product with a specific serial number. Apple already does this with music downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. This would pretty much require you to have an Internet connection to authenticate, and would probably contribute to an increase in costs of digital items to pay for this extra layer of security. And, of course, the thieves would figure out a way to circumvent the process . . . :rolleyes:

I'm predicting the Supreme Court will come down against this kind of open file sharing, and I suspect their argument will be that it too easily facilitates access to property that one does not have a legal right to possess. That failing, look for software and movie vendors to take security measures to the next level, and so the cat and mouse game will continue, with consumers footing the tab.

Brad Nelson
03-31-2005, 10:24 AM
There’s no shutting down file sharing, so software companies will have to adapt with things such as product activation. Music companies should probably not adapt and should see internet file sharing as a great opportunity for promotion of their product, akin to the radio.

One undercurrent that I think people should keep in mind is the completely monopolistic mindset of the current players in the music industry. A heavy burden of proof should definitely be on the record companies to prove that, basically, their interests are so intruded upon that the entire concept of sharing information over the internet should be shut down.

jeffo
03-31-2005, 01:38 PM
Although i have in the past downloaded a few select programs to test out to see if i wanted to buy them and i did buy a couple and trashed the others because they were not what i wanted. all of my software is legal on all my machines. it is expensive doing it that way, which is why i don't usually keep up with the latest versions of everything. I usually get every other or everythird version. as far as music goes I still buy all my music on CDs and because the most music these days blows donkey balls I have not bought much music lately. I still have no illegal music though.

This will definately be very intersting to how it comes out though. I think that making filesharing illegal will be incredibly restricting to the use of what computers have become in alot of ways. There will always be piracy, but the quality of music and videos is most of the time so crappy that i won't even bother using them, and is actually one of the contributing factors as to why i stopped in the first place.

chutem
03-31-2005, 03:02 PM
I think some of this should be renamed...people aren't sharing music..they are stealing it. When you buy music, movies etc you are not paying for the atual thing, you are paying for the license to use it. I would say let file sharing remain, if the RIAA and MPAA prosecute the illegal trade let them. The reason most of us don't steal cars etc is that there are real consequences. I put at least some of the blame on the RIAA/MPAA, if they had started enforcing the law earlier I think illegal PTP would be a much smaller isssue now. If you start fining/throwing people in jail for copyright infringement I would posit that most people wouldn't take the risk. Part of the problem is that you get into privacy issues and everyone being protected by the filesharing companies. I think if someone is accused of a crime (pirating in this case) the company should be cooperate with an investigation. I think this would give most people pause to think about pirating. I really don't understand how people can say they should be allowed to get copyrighted material for free. I don't like the MPAA and RIAA, but it is certainly within their rights to prosecute people who break the law. These are just my opinions and cannot speak for others as much as I might like to :D

ArcticStones
03-31-2005, 04:01 PM
Let me offer my thoughts:

I remember local California radio stations in the 1970s and 1980s announcing when they would play side 1 and side 2 of a new LP, so that listeners could have their cassette recorders ready. That was a blatant case of encouraging copyright infringement, but I don’t recall anybody ever threatening to prosecute the DJs of KLRB, KPFA or KAZU.

Here in Norway, you can go into any record store and listen to the CDs/tracks you want at the counter. To my astonishment, I understand that is generally not the case in the US. Unheard of to expect customers to purchase music ungeard!

I have a large collection of downloaded music. Do I feel guilty? Hell no. The fact of the matter is that I have never purchased more CDs than since I started downloading from fellow filesharers. The stuff that I consider truly great, I am more than happy to pay for! I very much WANT to offer my economic support of the artist and label in question. On the other hand, my preferences are not exactly mainstream (contemporary classical, unusual world music, CDs bearing the ECM label). (I haven’t downloaded for more than a year, however.)

* * *

Steve Jobs and Apple have found a wonderful middle ground with the iTunes music store! Kudos to them!! (Still not available in Norway...) However, I want more small label stuff available on iTMS, including all the stuff by ECM. But first and foremost -- I demand better download quality before I’m willing to pay a dime for a download. 320 kbps AAC/MP3 or Apple loss-less would be acceptable. 128 kbps is not acceptable!

As far as software goes, I have purchased all the applications that I use to to earn a living, as well as software that I use frequently in my spare time. I confess that I have "borrowed" copies of Photoshop and Quark XPress; but these applications I only use to open files that are sent to me that I’m unable to open in any other way. I do not use them for production.

* * *

The filesharing issue is complex. The fact that digital copies are "perfect" is one key factor. A major problem is the mainstream recording industry’s greed. The price of music should have been cut to a fraction with the advent of the CD, which is ridiculously cheap to mass produce.

But a far greater problem for the recording industry is its utter lack of imagination. Heck, even the porn industry has adapted far better to file sharing. I don’t hear any of their industry spokespeople complaining about lost income!

Another issue: I hear that US advertising are trembling at the sudden popularity of new "boxes" that allow viewers to watch their favourite shows and movies -- without having to tolerate commercials.

I edit a magazine in which I recently wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek article about "illegal fonts". I offered the thought: What would happen if every graphic designer and advertising agency with an unpaid font on their Mac/PC was prosecuted. Yes, this means YOU!

Hmmm... :rolleyes:


With best regards,
ArcticStones


PS. Predicting the Supreme Court? Well, do remember that this is basically the same justices that stopped the Florida recount, with a very, very shaky non-judicial argument. Anyone read that court decision in its entirety, by the way? A real shocker!
Oops -- I guess that PS was a forbidden political expression. But I hope the moderators will tolerate it, because it is highly relevant to the issue at hand.

blubbernaut
03-31-2005, 06:01 PM
I'll probably get shouted down for this, but: what I'd like to see is (just like radio stations pay royalties) a *tiny* surcharge introduced to blank CDs and DVDs that gets used as royalties to be spread amongst artists perhaps in proportion to regular research (as with TV ratings).

Agreed that not all CDs and DVDs are used to burn illegally gotten product, but the price impact would be so minor (say half a cent) as to be negligable to the purchaser. Maybe something similar could be organised with ISPs, or file-sharing companies. That would create a radically new business model!

Did you know that many shops (such as hairdressers) have to pay a royalty fee to have music on in their store. It is being broadcast (narrowcast?) to an audience and being used to increase patronage after all. Although I'm sure it sometimes drives me away!

acme.mail.order
03-31-2005, 06:52 PM
what I'd like to see is (just like radio stations pay royalties) a *tiny* surcharge introduced to blank CDs and DVDs that gets used as royalties to be spread amongst artists perhaps in proportion to regular research
Already in place in Canada, where file sharing is "legal" (last I heard) as you paid the "Home Copying Royalty" when you bought the blank CD/DVD/mp3 player. It's also kosher to duplicate commercial stuff you borrow from the library on the same grounds. However, you are taxed for data CDR's to back up your own stuff :(

Any Canadian residents know of recent changes?

blubbernaut
03-31-2005, 07:50 PM
Already in place in Canada, where file sharing is "legal" (last I heard) as you paid the "Home Copying Royalty" when you bought the blank CD/DVD/mp3 player.
Leading the way once again! ;)

Phil St. Romain
04-01-2005, 08:18 AM
Re. Canada: Do the proceeds from the "Home Copying Royalties" then become distributed to the artists and programmers whose goods are being illegally obtained through file-sharing? If so, how do they know who should get what?

Also, what about people who illegally download stuff and store it on their hard drive, or an external drive?

Lots of holes in that policy, it seems to me.

NovaScotian
04-01-2005, 05:51 PM
Or another one: locksmith tools make it easy to open doors you wouldn't normally be able to open, but we don't make them illegal or restrict who can buy them. Do you think that since the tools make it very easy to be dishonest, they should be made illegal and their sale should be stopped?
Although not the main issue here, many years ago I worked for a locksmith (mostly picking locks for folks who'd locked themselves out of their homes, or put their keys in their mailbox and slammed the door, or left the engine running and locked their car), and I was required to carry a card identifying the license of the locksmith I worked for because a set of lockpicks were considered to be illegal if you didn't have a license. This was in New York City.

acme.mail.order
04-02-2005, 05:21 AM
Lots of holes in that policy, it seems to me.
Sure are. Notice the "quotes" - English doesn't have a sarcasm marker yet. Radio stations, who use minidisc a lot, were livid that they had to pay royalties to record their own stuff. It's another tax.

NovaScotian
04-02-2005, 10:40 AM
Sure are. Notice the "quotes" - English doesn't have a sarcasm marker yet. Radio stations, who use minidisc a lot, were livid that they had to pay royalties to record their own stuff. It's another tax. Since I've never copied music to a CD, it's a tax I find so onerous that I refuse to buy CD blanks in Canada (where I live). I wait 'til I'm in the US on business and then buy a bunch. It is just a tax, and the proceeds go to "Canadian Artists", which means those who haven't made it anywhere else, like the US for example, which means, for the most part, artists whose work you'd rarely if ever download anyway. Sheesh. Canadian politicians love to be seen to be doing something about a problem as long as it involves collecting money from us to pay for this "good thing".

Twelve Motion
04-06-2005, 06:03 AM
Very interesting indeed.

Even though we all would love to **** on the RIAA and all the big business types who are crying because they have to wait a few extra days before they can make thier next big purchase, it is still stealing and it should be illegal. However I agree that shutting down sharing programs is a horrible thing to do for the advance of technology.

I know there have been a bunch of stats released. But I want to see some I can trust... By the US Census or something, that the income of record labels has actually decreased. Because I have heard facts go both ways. Either way though I think the industry simply needs to get better at protecting thier stuff because sharing thier files wont stop with p2p programs.

ArcticStones
04-06-2005, 08:44 AM
...it is still stealing and it should be illegal.

I would love to purchase ALL my music from Apple’s iTunes Music Store. The problem, as I see it, is that it is not hi-fi quality. I want 320 kbps or Apple loss-less, not a meager 128 kbps. And, second, a lot of the music I want is neither avaible on iTMS or in the record stores here.

But all in all, I don’t think the record industry has lost a dime on my downloading. I get turned on to more kinds of music, and I am purchasing more CDs than ever.

I, too, would like to see truly reliable statistics. I’m convinced that the figures from the RIAA are not entirely honest, and that many consumers are fed up by their greed and high pricing. I don’t think all of the sales decline can be ascribed to P2P file-sharing.

A fortunate side effect of P2P is that the quality demand on artists/labels increases. They can no longer be lazy and expect to sell a CD with just two or three decent cuts. The whole album has to be good -- and that is at is should be.

What I propose is Apple opening up iTMS even more to independent labels, as well as making alternative agreements directly with quality musicians, giving them a larger cut of the profits (and the major record companies correspondingly less).

Since it is now technologically easier than ever for musicians to record great stuff themselves, I think the large RIAA labels are going to lose their dominance. There will be more room for artists and small labels whose first loyalty is to music, not just a quick buck.

Cheers to that!

:)

Best regards,
ArcticStones

Ganymede
04-06-2005, 06:50 PM
There are two core issues in this topic which have barely been mentioned in this thread, much to my surprise.

First is the issue of DRM & one's right to make "backup copies" of purchased proprietary content. The betamax issue is simply not relevant - illegal sales of unauthorized content on analog media never threatened the monster money machine. The booming industry in pirated music on cassette tapes does not cause a serious loss of sleep to the RIAA execs - perhaps a chuckle, do they even notice?. But the new threat they face is serious and dire: any computer user on earth can duplicate digital media with near production quality. What's to stop the whole neighborhood from burning CD's/DVD's and selling them on EBay or at the swap meet? How dreadful, exploiting access to technology to profiteer on someone else's creative talent and hard work! I suppose the nauseating hypocrisy of the REAL exploiters is understandable, given the magnitude of their gravy train. Those who create value in the marketplace need not fear the new technology - can it be any more obvious the only way to the future is to embrace it?

This evil power, this terrible technology is our salvation. Tons of artists are now able to produce quality music/video/etc, get it heard/seen, set up shop, make a living - without forfeiting it all to the bully middleman. The claustrophobic control, the airplay blackmail,the domination of the distribution channels is slipping through their hands like water. The rise of alternative labels and music outlets, such as Magnatune.com is an unstoppable tide, no matter what DRM and microsoft try to do. Far from the starving artists having even less than before, I think they stand to gain tremendously. And the legions of people of integrity in the industry will still be there tomorrow. Certainly the mega-corporations are not going to croak. This "rampant piracy" is just graffiti on the bridge to great change.

The stakes will change a lot - not only are the content creators being liberated; our collective sentence as captive audience is nearly over - and those whose livelihoods depended upon forcing us to endure commercials and crappy advertizing get to ride along with us as we demand better quality & less bulls--t.

Being able to purchase only the song you want, and not the rest of a questionable album, is just the beginning. However, I am still very reluctant to purchase music from ITMS; I don't like the limitation of software police on my media, telling me where and how I can play my own music. I can play my CD's anywhere I want, not just on 5 Macs. And this BS about whose machines can play what formats, more of the same sorry-ass politics from the Fear-Of-Not-Enough and the Need-To-Dominate-It-All. Steve! You're better than that! Open up those iPods, man! I'm not willing to let my passion for music be a pawn in your power games with proprietary poo-poo!

Look at earth from outer space, Give me real, don't give me fake; give me heart, give me soul...don't forget the rest of us. just open up your eyes

Phil St. Romain
06-27-2005, 04:38 PM
The verdict is in, and it went unanimously against Grokster et al.

"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.
- see http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160792,00.html

So what now? Any implications beyond file-sharing software?

ArcticStones
06-27-2005, 04:43 PM
Uh oh...

...and it was unanimous? I think the judicial argument here has to be read very carefully. For that, as much as the decision at itself, will more accurately define precedent -- and thus decide what happens in the wake of the decision against Grokster.

-- ArcticStones

voldenuit
06-27-2005, 06:21 PM
Whoever feels that foxnews might not be exactly the place where journalistic excellence especially on that topic is naturally at home, may want to have a look at the website of the EFF, where lots of first-hand information is linked:

http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/


including the full text of the ruling:

http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/04-480.pdf

voldenuit
06-27-2005, 07:15 PM
For now, I've only skimmed the judgements text, but J. BREYER, while finally concurring, actually makes a pretty strong argument in the opposite direction and holds up the Sony principle.

It is not an accident neither that the copyright-mafia goes after the commercial p2p people rather than open-source networks with no ad- and spyware-riddled clients.

The stupidity of the defendants, who answered emails of downloaders too dense to get their pirated films to play and evidence showing the defendants openly were out to capture the market of napster once it would be shut down didn't help their case neither.

Will it really take the decision of a US court to convince the filesharing public to be slightly more attentive to what kind of technology they are using ?

How hard is it to understand that open-source BitTorrent and friends should definitely be preferred over business-models based on spy- and adware ?

Markle
06-27-2005, 10:48 PM
Anyone can read the decision at the opinions page of the Supreme Court's website:

Supreme Court Decisions (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04slipopinion.html)

Click on Metro-Godwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster.

I'm always surprised when anyone thinks they have the RIGHT to steal music off the internet and gets indignant when you tell them they shouldn't. Grokster, Napster, etc., etc., were invented for the PURPOSE of piracy. They weren't valid inventions with an illegal purpose that was merely incidental.

It's a misnomer to call what they do "file sharing." You can't "share" what you don't own.

Markle

ArcticStones
06-28-2005, 12:57 AM
…may want to have a look at the website of the EFF, where lots of first-hand information is linked:

http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/

including the full text of the ruling:

http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/04-480.pdf

Anyone can read the decision at the opinions page of the Supreme Court's website:

Supreme Court Decisions

Click on Metro-Godwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster.
Thanks Markle & Voldenuit (& partners),
Indeed, in such matters it is always better to go to the source itself. This makes it possible to see clearly and discuss on the basis of the facts -- and in this case on the basis of the Justices’ expressed opinions.

And thanks for the alternative to FoxNews, Voldenuit. I realize that FoxNews is highly respected in the US (i.e.: watched), and that they operate with slogans such as "Fair and balanced" and "We report, you decide". But here in Europe (and amongst the PBS-watching segment of the media savvy US population), FoxNews is not exactly known for journalistic excellence. In fact, a few months ago, Norwegian television aired a long analysis on their systematically skewed reporting. I believe it was an American PBS production. Excellent!

Well, not to be distracted -- back to Grokster and the now public arguments of nine Justices of the US Supreme Court...

I'm predicting the Supreme Court will come down against this kind of open file sharing, and I suspect their argument will be that it too easily facilitates access to property that one does not have a legal right to possess.
Phil, turns out you were absolutely right!

Anyone interested in the topic of file sharing, p2p and music/software piracy really should read the opinion in its entirety. It is very thorough. Perhaps most interesting are the nuanced differences in opinion that appear, for instance where Justice J. Breyer takes issue with som of Justice Ginsburg’s points.

As mentioned earlier, however, the Supreme Court decision was unanimous.

Point well taken, Markle. And in my opion anyone who continues on their merry p2p ways should not be shocked if they receive a court summons from the RIAA. The hired legal guns of the recording industry are guaranteed to use this decision for all it is worth!


With best regards,
--ArcticStones


PS. For a more technological and philosophical angle, I definitely believe that Ganymede’s points deserve further discussion.

Markle
06-28-2005, 02:31 AM
I realize that FoxNews is highly respected in the US (i.e.: watched)
Not by everyone. It's hard to respect a "news" organization that's a wing of a political party, and gets its agenda from the White House talking points of the day. They should really just admit they're an opinion media, like talk radio, and let it go at that, instead of pretending to be a news outlet. That's how I use it, as a forum to make sure I get diverse opinions. I don't have any illusions that it's actually "news." Sometimes their efforts to huff and puff and posture at LOOKING like a news channel while being blatantly partisan is actually funny.

Markle

Markle
06-28-2005, 02:48 AM
The link to the text of the Grokster decision provided by Voldenuit brings up exactly the same pdf file of the ruling as the one on the official Supreme Court website that I mentioned. Either link gives you the complete, unedited decision plus the syllabus (introductory official summary) and the concurring opinions.

Anyone interested in following the Supreme Court or finding the text of other decisions might want to make a note of the URL of the official site for future reference. The Supreme Court is now recessed until October, but the website is a good resource to find previous rulings.

Markle

voldenuit
06-28-2005, 05:08 AM
To get a feeling for the astonishingly good understanding of technical points by the judges, listening to the oral arguments

http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/20040203_oral_arg.mp3

is really interesting. The second lawyer for the MGM et al. side when starting a propaganda talk on how this is all theft gets a rather harsh call to order from one of the judges.

I'm a little bit confused by markle's statement about an alledged "right to steal".

It would be extremely unfortunate if some slimy p2p network operators who arguably are making money by encouraging their users to infringe were to set a precedent that would then be used to outlaw technology like BitTorrent also used for the distribution of project Gutenbergs DVD and Linux distros.

Since the copyright holders have targeted 12-year olds and eldery people not even owning a computer, pretty much everybody has understood their determination to sue their potential customers.

This case is not about individuals, it is an attempt to outlaw technology because it might, among other things, allow to violate copyright. Anything going against the extremely clueful Sony decision is a Bad Thing for innovation.

Ganymedes line of thinking seems a lot more sensible here.

It is interesting to see how even artists "in the system" are increasingly fed up with the "business practices" of the recording industry and have felt the need to create their own representation:

http://www.recordingartistscoalition.com/industrypractices.php

I think looking at the upcoming technology as an opportunity for artists and customers to deal with one another in ways profitable to both is very interesting.

Copyright was meant to make sure the creators get paid for their work.
It was not intended to protect a fat cat industry trying to prevent progress from happening since the advent of the Sony Betamax Video Recorder.

And I am pretty confident that, like Victor Hugo said:
"Rien n'arrête une idée dont le temps est venu."

( "No one can resist an idea whose time has come." )

Digital distribution of music, films and more is already there.

ArcticStones
06-28-2005, 05:57 AM
To get a feeling for the astonishingly good understanding of technical points by the judges is really interesting...

It would be extremely unfortunate if some slimy p2p network operators who arguably are making money by encouraging their users to infringe were to set a precedent that would then be used to outlaw technology like BitTorrent also used for the distribution of project Gutenbergs DVD and Linux distros.

Every once in a while, I disagree with a Supreme Court decision -- but no one can accuse the Justices of not earning their pay!

Good point, Voldenui. In fact I myself have used p2p networks to access project Gutenberg files for research. It does need to be pointed out that not all p2p sharing is done with the intention of violating copyright.

I have never used Grokster, but from the press reports and the seemingly well-considered argument in the Supreme Court decision, it seems clear that -- in this instance -- it was primarily about copyright violation.

Nevertheless it is appropriate to ask: At hat point does the service provider become liable for its user’s criminal activities? Would it be reasonable, for example, for the RIAA/authorities to demand the installation of technology that prevents illegal file sharing activity in p2p sharing networks? By the same token, would law enforcement agencies have the right to demand that Google and other search sites install filtering technology to prevent access to child pornography, for instance? (...an issue raised in another thread)

I think there are a lot of pressing issues here.

With best regards,
ArcticStones

Phil St. Romain
06-28-2005, 09:57 AM
I get email notifications of significant news developments from Fox and the Washington Post. Re. this present report, I don't know why Fox reporting a 9-0 decision is more suspect than reading it elsewhere. A 9-0 decision is a 9-0 decision, no matter who reports it.

Not often you find Scalia, Thomas, Souter and Ginsburg agreeing on something so strongly. As I've listened to commentary on the decision, it seemed the critical point was that the justices thought Grokster et al were somehow advertising that their capablities re. illegal file sharing, and were doing so as a kind of "selling point."

So what happens now to Limewire, Acquisition, and even the gnutella protocol? Same thing?

And how is any of this different from the sale of something like Radar Detectors (aka "fuzz-busters")?

(Howdy Markle! :) Good to see you here.)

ArcticStones
06-28-2005, 10:05 AM
Not often you find Scalia, Thomas, Souter and Ginsburg agreeing on something so strongly. ...it seemed the critical point was that the justices thought Grokster et al were somehow advertising that their capablities re. illegal file sharing, and were doing so as a kind of "selling point."

Agreed! That is the crux of the matter.

voldenuit
06-28-2005, 10:27 AM
I don't know why Fox reporting a 9-0 decision is more suspect than reading it elsewhere. A 9-0 decision is a 9-0 decision, no matter who reports it.I was not saying they were lying.
However, last time I looked, it is not from their site that you'll be able to find links to actual court documents.
Which is, beyond the points already made by both Markle and arctic stones, not exactly how I conceive serious journalism.
They only link to other stories on their site, all references to their sources need to be found out by the reader.


So what happens now to Limewire, Acquisition, and even the gnutella protocol? Same thing?I share your fear those are indeed shortcuts that might be made as I already wrote in my previous post.


And how is any of this different from the sale of something like Radar Detectors (aka "fuzz-busters")?I agree, that unless declaring those devices alternate purpose to be Microwave-oven-leakage-detectors, I can't see how they would pass the Sony criteria indeed.

CAlvarez
06-28-2005, 11:23 AM
Norwegian television aired a long analysis on their systematically skewed reporting. I believe it was an American PBS production.
Which in turn, is a liberal-leaning organization, with their own history of systematically skewed reporting. You're not going to find fair and balanced from any source, as far as I've seen. Don't believe any of them.

Oh, except for The Daily Show on Comedy Central. That's the one source of news I find valuable and very well balanced. IE, they point out that all of them are idiots.

This decision doesn't seem all that important to me. The points used to make the case mean that basically similar technologies need to at least give the illusion that they are marketed for other purposes, not just piracy.

And there's still usenet, which still is far better than any P2P network. I don't understand why people don't use it instead.

NovaScotian
06-28-2005, 11:32 AM
I agree, that unless declaring those devices alternate purpose to be Microwave-oven-leakage-detectors, I can't see how they would pass the Sony criteria indeed.
If the ruling hinges on the encouragement factor, i.e. the principal use of the software is illegal, and the authors encourage that use, I can see this ruling. The same is true of Radar Detectors - as you say, they really have no other practical use. There are lots of other ways to exchange files besides these methods.

The principal use of guns (and I don't own one) is to shoot things. Judging from the statistics, those "things" all too often include people. With the exception of law enforcement and suicide, people shooting is illegal. Since a large fraction (I'm guessing) of the folks killed by a gunshot are probably the victims of weapons that have never been used for any legitimate purpose before they were shot, it makes one wonder where else this ruling could wander.

CAlvarez
06-28-2005, 11:46 AM
I agree, that unless declaring those devices alternate purpose to be Microwave-oven-leakage-detectors, I can't see how they would pass the Sony criteria indeed.
They are radio receivers, and early laws declare that all Americans have a right to receive all radio transmissions.

Since a large fraction (I'm guessing) of the folks killed by a gunshot are probably the victims of weapons that have never been used for any legitimate purpose before they were shot, it makes one wonder where else this ruling could wander.
You are guessing, and you are wrong, and now you're turning this into a gun discussion which will surely get the thread closed real fast. In any case, this is unrelated because gun ownership falls under Constitutional law. Also this has already been decided, when a city sued a gun company for marketing "something designed only to kill." The courts soundly rejected that.

Craig R. Arko
06-28-2005, 11:55 AM
...and now you're turning this into a gun discussion which will surely get the thread closed real fast...

Shrewd observation, that. ;)

NovaScotian
06-28-2005, 11:56 AM
You are guessing, and you are wrong, and now you're turning this into a gun discussion which will surely get the thread closed real fast.
Certainly not my intention (to get the thread closed). As a Canadian, I'm not up on what's legal and not in the USA. [... and Craig Arko confirms that it will - I find that interesting too. I clearly don't have the right PC sensitivities.]

CAlvarez
06-28-2005, 12:03 PM
I've had a couple of very good but private discussions on gun facts and laws with some people here, stemming from some open threads. It's really easy to get a thread closed here to begin with, and I'm just guessing that gun law discussion would be at the top of that list.

As I scan through the decision here, I keep feeling more and more that it's not as important as we may first believe. As with many SCOTUS decisions, it's very narrowly-focused.

voldenuit
06-28-2005, 12:10 PM
You're not going to find fair and balanced from any source, as far as I've seen. Don't believe any of them.
I'm completely with you that parsing information without looking at sources and agendas is futile.

But there is a huge difference in quality between publications actually linking to the sources they use. You do not need to believe what they write, you can check the facts.
And voting with your feet will encourage better journalism.

Subtly mingling fact and opinion without saying so is clearly a dishonest attempt to deceive the reader.

Getting a gun-discussion started here will become even more confusing once different cultures, such as europeans, entirely unfamiliar with the concept, start chiming in.

I hope that the Sony ruling will stand unchallenged and all this will finally result in MGM et al. being granted a complete trial before they loose rather than being thrown out at once...

There's quite a sensible comment here:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050627-5042.html

ArcticStones
06-28-2005, 12:17 PM
I know it’s political, but I just can’t resist... The BBC website had fierce debates when the British Parliament were discussing whether or not to make fox hunting illegal.

I wrote that I supported fox hunting -- but with the provision that the prey had at least a 30 % chance to kill the hunter. ;)

Oh well, back to more serious topics, and ones which are relevant to the thread. The recording industry seems to be in a bit of a dilemma. A lot of people here in Norway are currently boycotting CDs with music content that they can’t transfer onto their PC/Mac/MP3 player. Is anything similar happening in the states? DRM seems not to be such a simple issue, nor a lifesaver for the industry.

-- ArcticStones

Phil St. Romain
06-28-2005, 12:32 PM
Enough, now, on the "bias in the media" current of this thread! There are sites galore where you can argue that point. I got the email from Fox and linked to the page; that's all there is to it, really.

Now, if, as we seem to agree, the major problem was the "encouragement" of illegal activity, then I don't see how an ISP, an iPod, or a CD burner are affected, here (as some sites have maintained). Apple doesn't advertise the iPod as a place to store illegally-obtained music; they actually provide an alternative to doing so with the Music Store. As for ISPs, maybe they could be required to block whatever ports are used by file-sharing protocols, but as they're not advertising their services to make file-sharing possible, then that would be a stretch.

The principle seems to be that something is mostly used to facilitate illegal activity, and advertises itself as such. Aside from radar detectors, I can't think of anything else quite like what was happening with file-sharing. Perhaps programs like OurTunes (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/26060) would fit this description, as it seems to be primarily about facilitating illegal activity.

NovaScotian
06-28-2005, 01:02 PM
Enough, now, on the "bias in the media" current of this thread! There are sites galore where you can argue that point. I got the email from Fox and linked to the page; that's all there is to it, really.

Now, if, as we seem to agree, the major problem was the "encouragement" of illegal activity, then I don't see how an ISP, an iPod, or a CD burner are affected, here (as some sites have maintained). Apple doesn't advertise the iPod as a place to store illegally-obtained music; they actually provide an alternative to doing so with the Music Store. As for ISPs, maybe they could be required to block whatever ports are used by file-sharing protocols, but as they're not advertising their services to make file-sharing possible, then that would be a stretch.

The principle seems to be that something is mostly used to facilitate illegal activity, and advertises itself as such. Aside from radar detectors, I can't think of anything else quite like what was happening with file-sharing. Perhaps programs like OurTunes (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/26060) would fit this description, as it seems to be primarily about facilitating illegal activity.
I think this is the key. I now understand that for radar detectors there is a right to receive radio emissions that trumps the intended use. For the file sharers, there was no such superior right (as there is with arms).

Thus Phil St. Romain's "The principle seems to be that something is mostly used to facilitate illegal activity, and advertises itself as such." with the caveat that there be no superceding right, seems to apply and the range of application is narrow.

Markle
06-28-2005, 02:12 PM
Thanks for the greeting, Phil. After reading the news out of Wichita yesterday, I wished I hadn't, and I don't know how to get it out of my mind.

But moving on.....

This case is not about individuals, it is an attempt to outlaw technology because it might, among other things, allow to violate copyright.
At the risk of repeating what's already been said, this case is not about outlawing technology. It's about controlling the illegal USE of technology. Knives are not outlawed; using knives for criminal purposes is outlawed.

Who can deny that the software and protocols for the original Napster, Grokster, etc. were written FOR THE VERY PURPOSE of downloading music that they didn't own and provided the means for setting up networks and databanks to do it on a wholesale basis? One of the reasons that software enablers after Napster carefully avoided having a website with music storage on it was to try to avoid the legal liability for abetting illegal downloading. They wanted to be able to say, "We just put the software out there, we can't control what people do with it." But that was totally nudge-nudge-wink-wink, because everybody knew what it was there for, and WHY it was written in the first place.

Napster, Grokster, etc. did not put out technology that "among other things" allowed illegal downloading. Illegal downloading was their very essence. That's why they got zapped yesterday.

How do we know when similar technology, like iTunes, is NOT being used for illegal purposes? When the owners of the copyrighted material that they trade in don't complain about it in court.

Markle

(Edited for typo)

ArcticStones
06-28-2005, 03:23 PM
And for balance, here is the story run by Aljazeera on the topic:

Court rules against file-sharing firms (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/F449E4CD-2DD2-48D3-AB7C-FDD800DA46B7.htm)

Aljazeera is often referred to as “the Arabic CNN”.
For the record: there is not even a hint of anti-Western taint in the article.

-- ArcticStones

Markle
06-28-2005, 04:51 PM
there is not even a hint of anti-Western taint in the article.
You're right. You'll notice at the bottom of the page the story was credited to the AP, a Western news service. They didn't add any editorial comments, like, "Infidel Court rules against downloading Satanic music...."

;)
Markle

ArcticStones
06-28-2005, 05:03 PM
You're right. You'll notice at the bottom of the page the story was credited to the AP, a Western news service. They didn't add any editorial comments, like, "Infidel Court rules against downloading Satanic music...."

;)
Markle

Honest reporting with an honest crediting of their source, whether the Associated Press or otherwise.
I have yet to see rhetoric like “infidel court” there. That said, news analyses are definitely from an Arab perspective. I read it for balance -- along with FoxNews and the Christian Science Monitor.

:cool:

Markle
06-28-2005, 07:18 PM
I thought the winking smilie would make it clear that I was joking if the absurdity of the language wasn't enough......

How about chopping off the hands of illegal downloaders, the just punishment of all thieves?


:p
Markle

voldenuit
06-28-2005, 08:03 PM
After reading the news out of Wichita yesterday, I wished I hadn't, and I don't know how to get it out of my mind.Having Court-TV from Wichita for breakfast can indeed be troubling.

That does not make the case at hand nearly as simple as you try to suggest.

The defendants clearly did everything they could to embarass themselves:
On page 18 of the ruling you can read:

"StreamCast even planned to flaunt the illegal uses
of its software; when it launched the OpenNap network,
the chief technology officer of the company averred that
ì[t]he goal is to get in trouble with the law and get sued.
Itís the best way to get in the new[s].î Id., at 916."

That and other blunders could indeed justify not to throw the case out immediately like the first two instances did.

What this is really about has been pretty well wrapped up by Grokster lawyer Michael Page:
"To expand the law of vicarious liability, to attach liability to anyone who in theory could have acted as a policeman, leaves no border on it at all and leaves every technology vendor, every inventor, every merchant at the mercy of copyright holders who want to look around and go, "You could have done something about this. You're liable."

It's also bad policy. Regulating technologies in their infancy is a bad idea. Imagine had the Supreme Court agreed with appellants and had said VCR's are illegal, because you could build them to have that control. Today, VCR's garner more income for the music industry than movies. They would not exist had the studios gotten their wish and had them banned.

They told the world that the VCR was to copyright as the Boston Strangler is to a woman alone at home and predicted that it would be the death of copyright. This is not a new theme. Every time a new technology comes along, those with a vested interest in the old technology first ask the courts to ban it. Thankfully, the courts say no, and when they do, the copyright holders then find a way to make money off that new technology. Because every time technology removes the transaction costs between the artist and the consumer, that leaves money available for the artists."


And the court is not unaware of what the industry is trying to do once more. Here's what Judge Noonan said to Carey Ramos, counsel for the Music/Film Industry after a lengthy sortie on how filesharing is all theft etc. and who just before that had managed to call him Judge Norris.

"Judge Noonan: Let me say what your problem is. You can use these harsh terms, but you are dealing with something new. And the question is, Does the statutory monopoly that Congress has given you reach out to that somthing new? And that's a very debatable question. You don't solve it by calling it theft. You have to show why this court should extend a statutory monopoly to cover the new thing. That's your problem.

Ramos: Your Honor...

Judge Noonan: So address that, if you would...

Ramos: Your Honor, I would be, I. . .

Judge Noonan: ...rather than use abusive language.

Ramos: You Honor, the, the... and to get your name wrong, which I apologize for.

Judge Thomas: I'm sure Judge Norris has an opinion on this. [courtroom laughter]"

What Noonan says also opens another possible perspective:

There is an ongoing project to legislate on P2P:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20040618-3906.html

In that context it might indeed be a smart move to deprive such initiatives of supporting arguments by having the inferior courts hear the case, without actually taking anything out of Sony.

Especially after reading the opinion of JUSTICE BREYER, with whom JUSTICE STEVENS and JUSTICE O'CONNOR join, concurring, one really wonders why they finally voted with the majority.

Phil St. Romain
06-28-2005, 09:56 PM
IMO, no one has a "right" to anyone's intellectual property beyond the stated wishes designated by the property owner. This means that unauthorized exchanges are unethical. Illegal file sharing violates this principle . . . period!

from Voldenuit. Regulating technologies in their infancy is a bad idea. Imagine had the Supreme Court agreed with appellants and had said VCR's are illegal, because you could build them to have that control. Today, VCR's garner more income for the music industry than movies. They would not exist had the studios gotten their wish and had them banned.

There are lots of alternative uses for VCRs than to facilitate illegal copying and dissemination of videos. That's the point that carried the day.

Every time a new technology comes along, those with a vested interest in the old technology first ask the courts to ban it. Thankfully, the courts say no, and when they do, the copyright holders then find a way to make money off that new technology.

I don't understand how artists and record companies would make money on illegal file sharing. And consider, too, that no record labels are complaining about Apple's music store, nor even the new deals by Napster and others. Those are relatively new technologies as well, but no one's trying to shut them down.

ArcticStones
06-29-2005, 12:56 AM
I thought the winking smilie would make it clear that I was joking if the absurdity of the language wasn't enough......

How about chopping off the hands of illegal downloaders, the just punishment of all thieves?

Yep, saw you winking at me. I just chose to make an objective point.
Cheers!

;)

voldenuit
07-03-2005, 11:10 AM
There's yet another, slightly ironic wink of history told in this blog:

http://www.corante.com/copyfight/archives/2005/06/30/home_taping_saves_shared_culture.php

British TV BBC failed to preserve -then expensive- tapes of many early broadcasts and now asks those who the copyright-hardliners do not hesitate to call thieves to hand over what you'd probably have to call "pirated copies" on a volontary basis.

Fortunately, back in the day, at least there were no DRM-schemes in place.

ArcticStones
07-03-2005, 03:55 PM
British TV BBC failed to preserve -then expensive- tapes of many early broadcasts and now asks those who the copyright-hardliners do not hesitate to call thieves to hand over what you'd probably have to call "pirated copies"

May I add another amazing story?

Just outside Bergen, Norway, where I live, stood an exceptionally beautiful stave church, built in the middle of the 12th century. It was one of less than 30 remaining in the world. In 1994 it burned to the ground -- torched by a black metal musician.

Fantoft stave church has since been rebuilt. I visited it many times while master carpenters were giving it form, using time-honoured building techniques (some of which they refused to tell me anything about). Tourists and locals flock to see the result, which is truly amazing!!

However, its reconstruction would not have been possible without extensive amateur photographs and video footage -- all of which was illegal. You see, photography by visitors was strictly forbidden in the original church.

With best regards,
ArcticStones

bramley
07-04-2005, 04:45 AM
... the copyright holders then find a way to make money off that new technology.

There must be a possibility of an essentially decentralised peer-to-peer networks, where the exchange of copyrighted data is mediated by a central supernode. The supernode could authorise transfers if the data's recipient pays. The copyright owner could even pay the sender a commission. Data could still be protected by a DRM scheme.

The advantages are the copyright owner doesn't need a large dedicated server for the data. If they're smart early adopters get their money back (through commissions). And the supernode doesn't just have to 'sell' music. Could sell anything.

NovaScotian
07-04-2005, 07:10 AM
The supernode could authorise transfers if the data's recipient pays. The copyright owner could even pay the sender a commission. Data could still be protected by a DRM scheme.
A distributed version of ITMS, in other words, where clients run P2P that is only accessible through the supernode. Nice. Instead of a commission, they could get "free picks", i.e., supernode charges $1, and the delivering client gets 10 cents in credit with the supernode.

ArcticStones
07-04-2005, 07:41 AM
Bramley & NovaScotian,

What a fascinating idea!
The idea of honest p2p networks handled through a supernode with built-in copyright management is cerainly well worth discussing. I hope you or other thread participants can take the time to expand on this.

As far as I know, absolutely all Internet traffic passes through a few such supernodes. Without going into specifics, we already know that there are some very "interesting" filtering and surveillance technologies in place at these supernodes.

Voluntary, well-designed solutions are sure to be better than Orwellian ones. iTMS is already a great, legal alternative to the ubiquitous p2p downloading. And its popularity seems to be increasing exponentially. Why? Because there are plenty of people who respect copyright – and more who will do so when additional, sensible alternatives appear.

It seems to me that Judge Noonan is one of several Supreme Court Justices challenging the RIAA to be more creative in their meeting with new technologies.
Anyone else with thoughts on what that technology might look like?


With best regards,
ArcticStones


PS. There is a lot of fascinating detail in the Supreme Court decision. Voldenuit, thanks for pointing out some of them! I’m looking forward to reading it in its entirety given the first opportunity.

NovaScotian
07-04-2005, 08:41 AM
A distributed version of ITMS, in other words, where clients run P2P that is only accessible through the supernode. Nice. Instead of a commission, they could get "free picks", i.e., supernode charges $1, and the delivering client gets 10 cents in credit with the supernode.
To add to this thought, it would be an added benefit if the credits were transferable, i.e. could be traded among users via the supernode. An alternative "reward" might be free play of the items being stored, but with protections in place to make it impossible to copy (i.e. read only on the parent machine) without first paying. If I paid, the supernode would unlock the item I payed for so I could move a copy elsewhere.

I should say here that I'm just embroidering Bramley's idea. The credit for it is his.

CAlvarez
07-04-2005, 06:40 PM
Some interesting stories. I had intended to come here and post my own, albeit less important, story of legally using "piracy enabling" technology this weekend.

We were planning to fly to Orcas Island off the coast of WA on Thursday morning. Thanks to America West's greed and incompetence, instead we spent 13 hours sitting in an airport (they overbooked all flights by 10-15 seats). We had ripped one movie from DVD to watch on the plane (first use of "piracy" technology). This is perfectly legal, I believe, and certainly ethical. We do this because the optical drives kill the battery so fast. We didn't plan for problems and more "dead" time, so we had only one movie on the HD, the other was in our checked luggage. Well, P2P to the rescue, we downloaded a copy of the movie that was in our luggage. Legal or not, I don't know and I don't care, but certainly ethical.

Obviously these aren't common occurences, but good uses of "piracy" technologies do exist.

voldenuit
07-05-2005, 01:26 AM
Thanks for the great followups on the BBC-story.
There are also some pretty creative ideas tossed around here in how p2p could evolve and the diversity of examples how what is forbidden today criminalises uses that finally turn out to be a Good Thing.

I shall enlist no less than Cory Doctorow with his paper that explains to Microsoft why DRM is a Bad Thing:

http://craphound.com/msftdrm.txt (link to various translations and formats)

Ideas Ganymede has brought to this thread first look rather interesting to me. What we are looking at here is a lot bigger than just another minor shift in technology. So far, the printing press, producing disks etc. required big investments and needed big honking marketing to make economical sense.

That is all history for quite a couple of years now. Some creative mind, a Mac and some assorted tidbits in hard- and software are all it takes to produce books, music and films in a quality indistinguishable from what the industry puts out these days. Of course talent doesn't hurt.

I believe we are about to see a big change in how the market for creative content will look like in the future. If everything goes fine, we'll see new ways of finding the talented nuggets in the overwhelming quantity of mediocre talents. We will probably also see a richer diversity of cultural expression than what can be pushed down the line of todays industry logic.

The question at hand is less about what we could do to fix a paradigm that has outlived its usefulness and a lot more about what we can do to make sure that the desperate moves of an obsolete and doomed industry lobby do not ruin the very technology that is key to an inevitable evolution.

There are lots of great things that fail to see the light of trditional publication for one reason or another. For example I don't know why exactly the deal with Addison Wesley to produce this great book about C finally fell through but before the net existed, the author would not have had the possibility to publish it at all rather than shelve it:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/dmjones/cbook1_0a.pdf

In the domain of software, we've seen what impressive wealth of programs are produced by small companies and one-guy-and-his-Mac operations. More often than not, there is extremely attentive customer-care associated with these smaller outfits because they realise that customer-satisfaction is what the whole game is all about.

I firmly believe that ideas such as

http://creativecommons.org/

and other concepts, some of which are still to invent, have the potential to create an open marketplace for creative content where both the creators and the consumers will greatly benefit in diversity, open formats and less revenue diverted from the artists.

The only open question I see is to what extent the content industry as it has survived while stubbornly ignoring innovation will be able to delay the inevitable by lobbying elected governments to legislate against the best interest of their electors.

BigDave
07-05-2005, 02:01 AM
Hmmm.... a few years ago I was told that the net was un-policeable, that it was too big & too pervasive for anyone to control at all. I believed it then, but not anymore.

In fact I'm convinced that eventually our assorted nanny states will end up legislating most of the web into dinky little "legal" bite-size portions. Don't get me wrong; as a struggling artist (and a very bad guitarist!) I agree that stealing is utterly reprehensible. But I think that the wider problem is that - generally - we now seem to accept being told what to do, rather than figurin it out for ourselves.

We all know that stealing is wrong. So most of us don't do it. It's OUR choice!

cameranerd74
07-06-2005, 10:20 AM
We can all talk about moral implications and policies until we're blue in the face, but that still doesn't get to the root of the problem. The public is fed up with the rediculous prices the entertainment industry is asking for it's products. That's why file sharing (illegal downloading) is so popular.

Does anyone remember when CD's first came out? At the time, tapes were $10 and CD's were about $15. We (the consumers) were told that this was to pay for the development of the new technology, and the price would eventually stabilize. Nowdays, tapes are still in the $10 range, but CD's have gone up considerably. The last new CD I bought was $17.95. After tax it was 19-something... I gave the man a twenty and got change back, no bills. The price of CD players has come down a lot, so has the price of the media, but not the price of audio CD's. The same is true of Video/DVD players. Do you remember when a VCR used to cost $300? Now you can find a slew of DVD players for $39 at WalMart.

When movie stars absolutely have to get paid $10,000,000 per movie, and musical artists refuse to perform for less than 10,000 screaming fans... they alienate their fan base and (consequently) the source of their income. Every manager and publicist wants a bigger share of the pot, and as it trickles down the line, the consumer pays for the increase. In my opinion, the industry has done this to themselves.

Maybe entertainers should be happy with the fact that they work in the industy they love and settle for a mere 2 to 3 million dollar salary. Isn't this industy supposed to be about the fans? Just my $.02.

BigDave
07-06-2005, 10:46 AM
The last new CD I bought was $17.95. After tax it was 19-something...

Cameranerd makes some good points. But count yourself lucky. Here in the UK a new CD will cost £15.95, which works out at $28 (at today's exchange rate).

voldenuit
07-06-2005, 11:45 AM
Cameranerds contribution is probably a pretty widespread reasoning.

Let me first take care of the part that doesn't fly:

Someone will most likely step up and say:
"Don't we need rules in a civilised society everybody respects ?"
Not much to disagree with so far.
"Don't we have both free enterprise and copyright and isn't the customer free to buy or not, yet not supposed to steal ?"

Bang. Stuck.

Now, you might be surprised to see me write this kind of rebuttal. But I really have no problem at all with any people getting filthy rich in the industry.

What bothers me, as I explained at greater length earlier in this thread, is that they don't stop at not understanding the internet, they are constantly lobbying to take more and more rights away from what they should perceive as their customers. However, all they manage to do so far is to frustrate people to the point where they get attitudes such as cameranerd expressed.

And every time legal action takes away liberties to explore new forms of distribution of creative content, resulting in less expensive overhead for the benefit of both the creator and the customer, we lose.

Phil St. Romain
07-06-2005, 09:54 PM
Voldenuit, with all due respect, I don't think the problem is "not understanding the Internet" so much as wanting to prevent unauthorized use of intellectual property. There is no "liberty" to illegally obtain another's intellectual property, as the Supreme Court explained. The "attitudes" expressed by cameranerd hardly justify such unauthorized use, and neither does the amount of money other people make. No one has a right to someone's intellectual property because you think that person already has enough money. That's ridiculous. And not to worry about overpaid movie stars. When/if their movies don't net a return, their fee will be reduced.

This thread's probably on its last gasp. I'm away on a trip, so am not able to keep up as well. Another other mod/admin, feel free . . . ;)

ArcticStones
07-07-2005, 12:58 AM
Voldenuit, with all due respect, I don't think the problem is "not understanding the Internet" so much as wanting to prevent unauthorized use of intellectual property.
Phil, let me quote none other that Justice John T. Noonan admonishment of the RIAA and its lawyers:

"Let me say what your problem is. You can use these harsh terms, but you are dealing with something new… You don't solve it by calling it theft… That is your problem.”
So I think the Supreme Court itself is highlighting the fact that the recording industry has failed to understand the Internet!

To truly “understand the Internet” is to understand this technology’s impact on your business – and to act accordingly. That is something that takes great vision. And I think there is widespread agreement that the recording industry has been acting at a snail’s pace. They have had many years’ opportunity, and yet they have failed. (To everyone’s misfortune, the porn industry has been far more effective.)

This has left a vacuum. Which is the primary reason for the ubiquitous illegal downloading of music that we have seen for quite a few years. But there are other players who do understand the Internet. Let me just mention one of them:

Apple! They have seized the lion’s share of the legal download market precisely through understanding what the recording industry did not. And they have acted where the RIAA could and should have acted years ago.

With best regards,
ArcticStones

cameranerd74
07-07-2005, 07:22 AM
Let me clarify my above rant as I think people may be taking it the wrong way.

I work 2 jobs, IT during the week and, for the last 10 years, I work a "weekend" job as a photographer. I'm also a musician (though lately I've had little time to put into music) and I've played in several all-original bands. As a photographer (and a musician), I understand the value of intellectual property as good or better than anyone. You would be surprised how many people say "We just love this photo so we scanned it into our computer and made it our desktop" or something similar. When someone scans (or steals for that matter) one of my photos, they decrease my potential to earn money.

Obviously, stealing is not right (or legal), and I certainly don't advocate stealing. The problem comes from the consumer feeling like they are "entitled" to free stuff because they feel they have already "paid" for it. When an above situation happens to me, it forces me to analyze the situation and decide what I want to do about it: lower prices, legally persue the action, lower prices for just this one customer, raise prices, use a new distribution method, or something else entirely. I wouldn't have much business if I sued everyone who scanned a photo.

Granted comparing my 2-bit photo business to the entertainment industry is like comparing apples to apple trees, but I think the idea of intellectual property is similar. Honestly, I think the view I expressed earlier in this thread is typical of the average consumer. It may not be right, but it's reality.

edit: grammar

Phil St. Romain
07-07-2005, 09:53 AM
Obviously, stealing is not right (or legal), and I certainly don't advocate stealing. The problem comes from the consumer feeling like they are "entitled" to free stuff because they feel they have already "paid" for it. . .

I don't get it. :confused: Who's paid for what? The recording industry isn't objecting to "free stuff."

Sorry guys, I'm not following your reasoning. My primary interest in all this has been the ethics of the situation, and hoping that the law would be congruent in some way.

I see another thread has been started taking on a wider topic, so I'll close this one now as I believe we've been over the SC decision in depth. ;)