Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

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."

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  • identicon
    Thief, 5 Feb 2004 @ 8:09am

    Holes holes holes everywhere

    The RIAA (Really Into Anal Abuse???) is doomed.

    The two main arguments they used were:

    The Betamax case is not relavant since,

    a) the copyright infringement on the peer-to-peer networks is "preventable" (whereas, in the Betamax case, presumeable, it was not; and so the Betamax precendent is not applicable) and

    b) Sony's relationship with the customer ended once the customer bought a Betamax (whereas, Morpheus and Grokster continue the relationship by then "selling" the "captive" audience advertising.

    Both of these are, in short, LIES, knowingly foisted upon a court by a shyster who should be disbarred.

    To suggest that Sony could not prevent copyright infringement is ludicrous. All Sony had to do was REMOVE the record button from its Betamax. Thus, the infringing use would be impossible. So to suggest that Betamax doesn't apply is laughable on this point.

    B) To suggest that Sony's "relationship" with the customer ended once the customer completed the purchase of a Betamax flies in the face of clearly obvious facts. Sony sold BILLIONS of blank tapes to these very same customers (in fact, it attempted to steal market share from VHS by intentionally making BETAMAX tapes NOT WORK in a VHS recorder). Much in the same way that HP's printer business model works (buy a printer, and HP owns you because ONLY HP sells the cartridge that allows it to print), the idea here is to absolutely create a sustaining financial relationship with the customer by selling them expensive blank tapes.

    The idiots at the RIAA cannot argue a salient point that Betamax is not relevant in this case.

    I'm glad a judge finally sees through their abusive use of the terms "thief" and "pirate."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2004 @ 9:27am

    No Subject Given


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

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