a somewhat angry questioner in the audience insisted that some comments written on Techdirt by some of our users were "illegal in Germany" and that, under German law, I was liable for them. He stood at the microphone with a laptop reading the comments ...
So was the questioner arrested for doing something that was "illegal in Germany"? Or is there some reason that his sharing of the comments was legal while Techdirt's was not?
It is a shame that the U.S. government doesn't have a massive data center that has been intended to be used for collection and storage of its citizens private data -- in violation of the U.S. Constitution -- and instead could be re-purposed by Congress for archiving of such historic public collections.
According to the court records, "Sony's advertising was silent on the subject of possible copyright infringement".
I don't necessarily agree with the Supreme Court's finding of contributory infringement, but their ruling hinged on the conclusion that Grokster actively promoted itself as being a means for its users to engage in copyright infringement.
This distinction between the two cases was directly addressed in the Supreme Court's ruling.
A new standard was created under Napster and Grokster which explicitly denies the "substantial non-infringing uses" standard to BUSINESSES.
That's not what those rulings found.
When ruling on Napster, the Ninth Court of Appeals explicitly confirmed the original "Betamax" standard (i.e., that Napster was "capable of commercially significant noninfringing uses."). Napster lost because they had direct, explicit knowledge that infringement was taking place. They were asked to remove specific titles by Metallica, Dr Dre, and various other label-represented artists and they refused to take down the links.
Similarly, in MGM vs Grokster the Supreme Court re-affirmed the validity of the Betamax finding, but ruled against Grokster because Grokster actually promoted infringing uses of their software.
Not just the spirit, but the letter of the Constitution is violated. The Constitution explicitly guarantees the States a republican form of government. Secret courts and secret laws do not a republic make.
There's another metric I would use; let's call it the "peace of mind metric".
I agree with this 100% -- however I'd find much greater peace of mind if an agency of my government wasn't wasting billions of dollars subverting the efficacy of the greatest development of humankind ever and threatening the status of over 4 trillion dollars in annual global commerce (not to mention petty little things such as representative government and rights to privacy, free speech, and due process).