Notes From The Morpheus, Grokster Trial
from the sounds-like-the-judges-know-what-they're-doing dept
While there have been stories all over the place noting that the appeal on the case pitting the RIAA against Morpheus and Grokster, I'd been waiting until there was actual news out of the case to post something. The San Jose Mercury News is now running an account of what happened in the courtroom, and from that alone, it certainly sounds like the judges aren't buying the RIAA's argument at all. They see exactly how this case fits with the Betamax precedent and asked pointed questions of the RIAA's lawyer. They also found the news that 10% of files on these services have been found to be perfectly legitimate to be plenty of "non-infringing" uses to meet the Betamax standard, with one judge saying: "That sounds like a lot of non-infringing use to me." Meanwhile, the court also snapped back at a lawyer representing songwriters, pointing out that while the use of biased language like "piracy" may work in a public relations campaign, it doesn't belong in the courtroom, telling him to "curtail that use of abusive language." Of course, you never know what the end result will be, but from the initial reports, it sounds like the judges on the panel understand the real issues here. Update: Copyfight has the full quote where the judge tells the lawyer to stop using the word piracy: "Let me say what I think your problem is. You can use these harsh terms, but you are dealing with something new, and the question is, does the statutory monopoly that Congress has given you reach out to that something new. And that's a very debatable question. You don't solve it by calling it 'theft.' You have to show why this court should extend a statutory monopoly to cover the new thing. That's your problem. Address that if you would. And curtail the use of abusive language."