File-sharers win court case

Two file sharing companies have been told by a court that they are not liable for people in their networks swapping illegal content.In a move that has dealt a stinging blow to the music and film industry, which has successfully managed to close file-sharing outfits with the weight of its pendulous briefs, Grokster and StreamCast have got a court’s blessing.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the two file-sharers were not responsible because they don’t have central servers. This made them different from Napster which did and therefore unable to control their content.According to Judge Sidney Thomas the unanimous three-judge panel noted that the software firms provide software that lets individual users to share information over the Internet, regardless of whether that shared information was copyrighted. The judge said that the technology has numerous other uses, significantly reducing the distribution costs of public domain and permissively shared art and speech.

Despite losing the case, the music and film industry is thinking about taking the case to the US Supreme Court. If they don’t they will be forced to go down the more expensive route of suing each of the pirates one at a time, instead of shutting down the technology. It will be the end of an interesting strategy which works like making wheels or cars illegal so that drunken drivers can’t commit offences

News source: The Inquirer

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