Admit it. You have broken the law at least once in your life. Maybe you have gone above the speed limit a time or two, or made a copy of your cousin's music CD. The law doesn't have the patience nor the time to worry about these occasional lapses. Society must rely on people's good characters in some instances, lest be crippled under a mountain of enforcement actions. But when an illegal activity reaches critical mass, it is the duty of the law to step in and curb the abuse.
Such is the case heard before the supreme court regarding the file sharing and file swapping products known as P2P or peer to peer software. No one in their right mind is going to admit that the products they create are intended to encourage people to break the law, but actions speak louder than words.
Napster, the original digital piracy tool wasn't heralded as a bootlegging product either, but once its true usage in swapping pirated music became obvious, the law had no choice but to shut it down.
Proponents of P2P products such as Kazaa, Grokster, and eMule claim that their creators have the right to innovate and can't be held liable for people's misuse of their creations. There is some merit to that argument, but when these wares become tools in the hands of millions to break the law and bilk others of their rightful living, the law has no choice but to intercede. If the purveyors of the P2P products are looking the other way and getting rich on the backs of others' hard work, even if it is inadvertent, they must bear some responsibility.
They would holler just the same if someone found a dubious method to unwittingly hijack their creations and dent their pocketbooks.