Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Grokster Decision - Everyone Weighs In

Grokster: Tech Companies Respond:

  • "Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says that while the decision largely upheld the Sony-Betamax decision protecting technology innovation, technology companies now have a greater burden of proof when defending themselves against lawsuits from content owners."
  • “This decision seems somewhat Orwellian to me in that it seems the copyright and entertainment industries now become the thought police,” adds Matt Neco, general counsel for StreamCast Networks. “(Technology companies’) every thought and every action will now be subject to discovery in expensive litigation. Lawyers are going to be pulled into every aspect of innovation and business. It’s not a great way for a business to function.”
  • “Of more concern to me is for the guy in the garage coming up with the next great product,” says Michael Pettricone, VP technology policy for the Consumers Electronics Association. “The legal environment (they’re) facing is much less clear. As an innovator, I’m not sure you know what the rule is and what you have to do to avoid being sued.”
  • “It makes it harder for them to negotiate with content providers if they’re vulnerable for suit and that discovery process,” says Ed Black, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association. “Not that it will happen all the time. But the threat of that actually taking place allows (content owners) to extract concessions.”
  • “Verizon remains committed to continuing to work with copyright owners and Congress to find appropriate solutions to the difficult issues of copyright liability,” said Sarah Deutsch, Verizon vice president and associate general counsel in a statement.
  • “We do have those concerns,” says David Pakman, eMusic COO. “We don’t think that stings us down the road based on the current service we have. But we constantly look at new features that we can deploy that may have a combo of infringing and non-infringing use. We now have to question if we can offer a feature that can be used legally by our users but illegally by others, are we liable? That puts a cloud over development activities over innovating new features.”
  • “P2P is not going to go away,” says Gigi Shone, president of Public Knowledge, a DC-based digital rights advocacy group that has long-supported Grokster. “There’s still going to be P2P and Hollywood and the recording industry are still going to have to deal with it. And they’re going to have to try to modify their business model to take advantage of it and not try to kill it. This is a pyrrhic victory for them, at best.”

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