Monday, February 28, 2005

Outline of Congressional Action

I Found this link that speaks about actions Congress is likely to take after the Grokster decision is made in Court:

www.freedom-to-tinker.com/archives/000775.html

The article, written by Cameron Wilson, Director of the ACM Public Policy Office in Washington, examines the views of speaks to the checks and balances within our government. Once the Supreme Court lays down its decision, Wilson expects Congress to establish a sub-committee on intellectual property. Interest groups will butt heads, and the P2P saga will likely stay at the forefront.

According to Wilson's predictions, the 109th Congress will take a much stronger position on IP issues than its predecessor. I tend to agree, given the great controversy surrounding intellectual property today. Congressional action is not only a plus, it is a necessity.

Friday, February 18, 2005

A Vehement Defense of Blogs....

It might be a little ironic that I make this post for the second time, after the lovely "cannot find server" popped up and I lost everything....

Anyway, here's an awesome apology for blogs as a legit form of journalism....
http://www.mayitpleasethecourt.net/journal.asp#2
An excerpt:
"The difference between blogs and MSM is the elimination of most of the middlemen. When you read blogs, such as this one, you get the "reporter." You don't get the copywriter, editor, producer and owner in the way, paring down what I write.The only two filters are you and me. "

Enjoy...

A Vehement Defense of Blogs....

I found an interesting apology for blogging as a legitimate form of journalism:
http://www.mayitpleasethecourt.net/journal.asp#2

I completely agree with many of the points made here by the author, attorney J. Craig Williams. He makes an interesting defense by saying, "The difference between blogs and MSM is the elimination of most of the middlemen. When you read blogs, such as this one, you get the "reporter." You don't get the copywriter, editor, producer and owner in the way, paring down what I write.The only two filters are you and me."

The only real argument blogging "haters" have is that there is a lack of accountability or oversight. But what makes a blog less credible than, say, the National Enquirer? I think we'll all enjoy it...

Monday, February 14, 2005

Defining a Middle Ground

Here's another post from the Copyfighter's Musings IP law blog regarding the P2P dilemma:
http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cmusings/2005/02/09#a1033

As with most of my other posts, this deals with the ongoing P2P file-sharing controversy. Defining a middle ground, according to Derek Slater, involves "providing sufficient (monetary) incentives so that creative material will be created and distributed for the public's benefit while b) minimizing damage to innovation, legitimate consumer rights, and other public interests."

I believe a good step in the right direction would be for software companies to issue stricter warnings to users about infringing uses of their product. If the government defined standards for what constituted a good warning, it would allow companies to protect themselves from secondary liability. Opponents of such measures think the accountability is strictly in the hands of the user, and not the company.

Still more to come....

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Feds nab file sharers....

http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,119342,00.asp

Excerpt.....

Operators of two peer-to-peer services have pleaded guilty to felony criminal copyright infringement charges in the first U.S. federal convictions for copyright violations using P-to-P networks, the U.S. Department of Justice announced this week.

William R. Trowbridge of Johnson City, New York, and Michael Chicoine of San Antonio, Texas, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit felony criminal copyright infringement. The pleas were entered Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Trowbridge operated at P-to-P hub named Movie Room between August 2002 and August 2004, and Chicoine operated a P-to-P hub named Achenon's Alley TM, according to the DOJ. The two sites offered a wide variety of computer software, computer games, music, and movies in digital format, including some software titles that legitimately sell for thousands of dollars, the DOJ says.

During an investigation, government agents downloaded 35 copyright works worth $4820.66 from Chicoine's site and more than 70 copyright works worth $20,648.63 from Trowbridge's site, the DOJ says. Both men pleaded guilty to acting for commercial advantage or private financial gain--the DOJ accused the two of operating their sites with the intent of obtaining copyrighted works from others.

"Those who steal copyrighted material will be caught, even when they use the tools of technology to commit their crimes," U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says in a statement. "The theft of intellectual property victimizes not only its owners and their employees, but also the American people, who shoulder the burden of increased costs for goods and services."

LOOKS LIKE THE GOVERNMENT IS LAYING DOWN THE LAW......

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

More on Grokster

Here's another link I found about the Grokster case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court:
http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/archives/000763.html

The post was made on the Freedom to Tinker blog by Dr. Edward Felten, a professor of computer science at Princeton University. This particular blog, although not specifically a law blog, deals with issues pertaining to technology. Thus, as my previous posts indicate, the P2P file-sharing debate in the Grokster case falls under that category.

Anyway, Dr. Felten makes a prediction about how the Supreme Court will rule in Grokster. The issue at hand is whether the Grokster software possesses "substantial non-infringing" uses, which would allow it to continue to operate. Technology producers rely on that as their main defense, and that defense was upheld in a 1984 Sony v. Universal case.

However, the folks in Hollywood counter-argue that the non-infringing capabilities of the Grokster software is not enough, in itself, to counterbalance the inevitable infringing uses that come from it. They want the Supreme Court to tighten the standard imposed by the Sony case, stating in briefs that Grokster actually encouraged its users to infringe.

Felten's commentary provides more insight into one of the main issues of the P2P controversy: whether software companies should be held liable for actions taken by those who purchase their software. More to come...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

P2P File sharing as a business practice

I found a link from another law blog done by a Harvard University student. His blog focuses specifically on intellectual property law.

Anyway, here's the link: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cmusings/2005/01/24#a1025

The link includes the summary of an argument, as well as the PDF text, for a Supreme Court amicus brief. The case, MGM v. Grokster, is yet another in the raging battle between P2P (person-to-person) file sharing systems and recording companies. The brief states P2P mechanisms represent substantial technological advancements that should not be unreasonably inhibited. The brief then states that when such advancements inhibit the creative process of artists, judicial action must be taken. The brief specifically mentions "common law" remedies to be taken.

This is a good example of the typical position advanced by the recording companies. MGM takes the same stance that Sony did in their case against Napster, emphasizing the creative inhibition P2P services . Although the battle will continue between P2P and recording companies, at the very least this case gives rise to more common law remedies to apply in the future.

Comments?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Excellent Legal Blog Resource

I found an outstanding link to several intellectual property law blogs. It amazes me that there are so many blogs on this topic, and I will use this link to find valuable information on the topic.

http://www.legaline.com/Sept2004column.html

On another note, I have the opportunity to attend a Supreme Court oral argument in D.C. on March 1. A friend of mine's father is very good friends with the lawyer who is making the argument, and I'll get a chance to meet him....I'm really excited for this opportunity to see the Supreme Court and to network with an attorney!!

Toodles,
BW