Supreme Court Debates File Sharing
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court expressed concerns Tuesday over allowing entertainment companies to sue makers of software that allows Internet users to illegally download music and movies, questioning whether the threat of such legal action might stifle Web innovation.
During a lively argument, justices wondered aloud whether such lawsuits might have discouraged past inventions like copy machines, videocassette recorders and iPod portable music players — all of which can be used to make illegal duplications of copyrighted documents, movies and songs.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the same software that can be used to steal copyrighted materials offered at least conceptually “some really excellent uses” that are legal.
Justice Antonin Scalia maintained that a ruling for entertainment companies could mean that if “I’m a new inventor, I’m going to get sued right away.”
While seeming leery of allowing lawsuits, the court also appeared deeply troubled by efforts of the companies that manufacture so-called file-sharing software to encourage Internet piracy and profit from it.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy pressed a software lawyer on the question of whether profits from trafficking in stolen property can rightfully be used to help finance a young technology business. “That seems wrong to me,” he said.
Two lower courts have sided with the software makers, Grokster Inc. and StreamCast Networks. How the justices rule could redefine how consumers can watch television shows and films and listen to songs that increasingly are delivered in digital formats.
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The Supreme Court of the United States is debating your use of File Sharing. Read More Here... http://blog.tmcnet.com/supreme-court-debates-file-sharing.asp Whether or not they will decide against it, file sharing will still be around and in our opi... [More]
Tracked on March 31, 2005 3:34 AM
Tracked on April 8, 2005 12:38 PM