Streamcast Realizes The Supreme Court Decision Didn't Outlaw Their Product

from the keeping-the-lawyers-busy dept

Streamcast sure is keeping its lawyers busy these days. Just after going after Skype and its founders for charges dating all the way back to the early days of Kazaa, it appears that the company has now decided to go to court with the recording industry, rather than settle with it. This is actually a much bigger deal than it may seem. When the Supreme Court ruled on a tiny aspect of the case between Streamcast and the entertainment industry, it only said that file sharing companies could face liability if they somehow promoted copyright infringement (the so called “induce” test). As we noted at the time, if these firms could show they were not specifically promoting the use of their software to violate copyrights, they could be perfectly fine under the law. Of course, many people missed the specifics on that, and simply ran with the theme that the entertainment industry “won.” The entertainment industry, of course, did nothing to discourage that viewpoint, and even started pretending the Supreme Court flat out said that file sharing was illegal — something they didn’t even come close to saying. Still, many of the file sharing platforms saw the writing on the wall and shut down or settled. Streamcast even went down that route, and said they were close to settling until one of the RIAA law firms began “seeking revenge, retaliation and retribution,” rather than just coming up with an agreeable settlement. So, now, Streamcast says they’ve dropped settlement talks completely. Even more interesting is that they clearly recognize just how little the Supreme Court ruling really changed, as they say it doesn’t make a difference. They plan on making the case that they didn’t “induce” anyone to infringe on copyrights.

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Comments on “Streamcast Realizes The Supreme Court Decision Didn't Outlaw Their Product”

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Anon says:

Re: Legal applications of P2P

There is also grounds for legal file sharing. For example, if I create a digital work and I put that work on a P2P network then I am handing the digital work over to the realm of public domain rights. Nobody can legal profit from it in it’s original form but it can be copied and shared freely. There are exceptions to this, take the game The Movies for example. My EULA on the game prevents me from having clear ownership of any works created in part or whole within the game.

veekay says:

It’s arguable that if Streamcast cleaned up its act entirely, purported only to offer the technology of P2P, did absolutely nothing that even smelled like encouraging the sharing of copyrighted content (obviously no sloganeering about “joining the revolution” and even advertising could be suspect), then it could be seen to be providing a legitimate service, one that the content industry couldn’t touch. That is, it would look a lot more like other applications that can be used for both infringing and non-infringing purposes eg BitTorrent, or even plain old email, than Napster did. However, all this depends on the Sony safeharbour remaining intact, something which was sort of side-stepped by the Supreme Court. The worrying thing is that three of the judges made noises about narrowing the Sony doctrine. This remains to be seen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Copyright Infringement

It seems that Streamcast shouldn’t need to prove they didn’t do something. RIAA should need to prove Streamcast actively “induced” copyright infringement. What happened to the old “Innocent until proven guilty” thing. I mean Streamcast should not need to prove their innocence.

P2P is a valuable tool that allows anyone to share their emerging ideas or evolving works to the world. This is the whole idea behind the internet anyway, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Copyright Infringement

Just because you don’t have to prove yourself dosn’t mean you shouldn’t. If your prove your self in a case it can sway the jury, or the judge more to your side. Its easier to prove someone guilty who stays silent, than a loud mouth who denies everything (even their existance 🙂 )

Nello Noma says:

make em pay!

Thank god streamcast is going this route. Someone needs to teach these big ass corporations that, if you bully people enough, it’s likely to come back and bite you on the ass. This whole “i’ve got more money and power than you so I’m gonna trample all over yr rights” thing is getting a lil outta control in this country.

BMSprint (user link) says:

The Truth

The truth of the matter is that the record companies are in both the right AND in the wrong. Looking at the way the music industry works, you would know that record companies ultimately pay at least $1,000 per week per station to get aired (nationally that’s hundreds of thousands) and with that loss and the loss from people who illegally download that leaves, in the end, a very stiff deal for the record companies and an even stiffer deal for the artists—the best artists might make a few million an album and most people don’t believe that—but MOST artists make much less than that. If radio were free and got their money from commercials as they should, prices of albums would go down, which would in turn decrease pirating, allowing the RIAA to focus on the people who really want to steal, those who are still left downloading. However, most record companies increase prices in order to offset the losses from filesharing, and that is wrong—why punish people for doing exactly what you want them to do? The whole music industry is horridly corrupt but in the end the artists get the shortest end of the stick.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Truth

this is right in a sense, however artists even before all this p2p and filesharing nonsense started still got the shaft from the record companies. Record companies make billions, yes, billions, however most artists hardly get away with $100 thousands…at least from record sales. Most artists know that they need to go on tour, play concerts, etc. to make their money.

Now, I don’t download music, however I don’t pay for it either. Personally I think music today sucks, all over rated junk (I’m 22, not some weird old person). I think record companies have made music into an awful thing, and should go back to letting artists do what they do.

Semaphore (user link) says:

Streamcast, RIAA-type law firms, and file-sharing

Actually, its been shown that file-sharing sells music albums and the RIAA-type sleaze-squeeze adds to costs in payola-style “costs” outloaded to radio stations, etc, for music that prevents many the army of competent original -song musicians from competing with the standard old buzzards like Lennon and the Beatles, and Jagger and the Rolling Stones, and the whole phoney “music history” gambit on radio and TV which delivers the aforementioned ad nauseum – which “music history” has nothing to do with an evaluative process of aired debates by pop-music historians who dare to wander of the industry-determined path to the past , but is specious “mustic history” that is altogether beholden to the music industry that wants to keep the doors closed to new artists. Most of what the industry puts out, and the file-sharers go for is garbage. Let the current music companies with the decrepit inherited business plans die off, and let new music companies arise that are plugged in to an open radio, open history of pop-music, and yes to file-sharers who listen widely and then comment on new work.

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