A unanimous decision was handed down in the Ninth Circuit today in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster that lets Grokster off the hook for harboring music pirates and other copyright infringers. Because of the way Grokster and other similar P2P networks manage their indexes, they are not subject to the same strict file indexing requirements that Napster was. There is a signifcant amount of NON-copyright infringing material being shared via Grokster.
The Sony Betamax case (which if the ruling had gone the other way, would have outlawed VCRs), says Grokster lawyer Michael Page, is also one of the reasons why many people believe the Ninth Circuit’s ruling will actually benefit the movie and record industries down the line. If VCRs had been outlawed, the video business that studios profit from today would not exist, Page said.
Something to think about next time you are standing in line at the video store waiting to rent this weekend’s video favorites. (I figure if God didn’t want me to download my favorite tunes, He wouldn’t have created this little guy, or my 60 GB hard drive for that matter!)