Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Should File Sharing Companies Rely On The Betamax Doctrine?

from the risky-moves dept

A very interesting discussion about whether or not file sharing companies are making a mistake by relying on the "betamax doctrine" in defending their services. The betamax doctrine comes from the Supreme Court case from 1984 saying that VCRs (and Betamaxes) were legal because they had non-infinging uses. However, there are plenty of debates as to whether or not such a ruling should also apply to file sharing software applications. So far, all the companies that have used that defense have lost, and some fear that if the next group (Morpheus, Kazaa and Grokster) also lose on that issue, then it will effectively kill the use of the "non-infringing uses" test to see whether or not a technology is legal.

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  • identicon
    david, 2 Oct 2002 @ 9:29am

    BetaMax and file-sharing

    Absolutely weak comparison in my opinion. I listened to Boise make arguments like these at the Napster trial. Beta ruling applies to the ability to copy and archive - doubtfully applies to your ability to redistribute and share with an unknown number of people. imho

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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