The Chilling Effects Of The Entertainment Industry's Grokster Position
from the hopefully-the-court-gets-this-one-right dept
With so much talk about the Grokster case, which is just hours from getting under way, Professor Ed Felten (who knows a thing or two about the chilling effects of the entertainment industry when it comes to technology) has posted a story about another professor who is keeping the details of his research secret, despite the potential for widespread usage. The professor in question is worried that some may figure out how to use it for illegal purposes, and if the Grokster decision goes the wrong way, he could be liable for it. He doesn’t want to spend his time retrofitting what he’s built to prevent all possible illegal uses, and thus, the world suffers because most of us won’t get to use what he’s working on, no matter how useful it really is. That’s the kind of world we’ll live in if the Supreme Court favors the entertainment industry. The innovations will remain secret or underground — which means they’ll barely develop at all. Real innovations grow on top of each other, so the more people use something the more they can innovate on top of it. Without the ability to even release such applications, innovation is stifled. Of course, innovation will move elsewhere, such as Eastern Europe and Asia — which isn’t exactly what the US economy needs right now.