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Interesting ruling. Maybe Hollywood can't tell Silicon Valley which programs and applications are acceptable after all.
 

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A judge said that tools aren't illegal in themselves and lawbreaking only occurs when using them to do something illegal. I guess somebody didn't pay enough money or the judge is determined to make decisions based on the law.:p
 

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From the ruling:
Quote:
"Defendants distribute and support software, the users of which can and do choose to employ it for both lawful and unlawful ends," Wilson wrote in his opinion, released Friday. "Grokster and StreamCast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights."
Sounds like a wise and sensible judge.


- Tom
 

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This is, of course, sensible.


It re-affirms basic notions like: Guns are not criminal, shooting people is criminal. Collecting money from customers is not criminal, extortion is illegal. Etc. etc.


I mean, I'm pleased, but could only have been terrified by the reverse outcome. If the issue was, say, about some software whose sole purpose was the circumvention of copy protection where legitimate backups couldn't be construed to be part of the deal, then the ruling might be different.


Mark
 

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This ruling is a Good News/Bad News thing for digital recording.


The Good News is that Fair Use was recognized and reaffirmed:

"In making that argument, the judge looked back to the landmark 1984 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the legality of Sony's Betamax videocassette recorder (VCR). That decision helped establish the doctrine of 'substantial noninfringing use,' which protects technology providers that distribute products--like the VCR or photocopier--that can be used for both legal and illegal purposes."


The Bad News is that the Court's language here presages an ultimate defeat at the hands of Congress' DMCA:

"...the ruling is likely to produce another round of interest in legislation affecting copyright issue on the Net--an outcome that Wilson himself foresaw.


"Policy, 'as well as history, supports our consistent deference to Congress when major technological innovations alter the market for copyrighted materials,' Wilson wrote. 'Congress has the constitutional authority and the institutional ability to accommodate fully the raised permutations of competing interests that are inevitably implicated by such new technology...Additional legislative guidance may be well-counseled.'"
 

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Or it presages a ruling by a higher court that smashes the DMCA on ground of constitutional overreaching.


It is clear that the framers' intent was for copyrights that were limited in duration and scope. There are a number of "original intent" interests on the highest court as well as civil libertarians.


Mark
 
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