by Mike Masnick

Record Labels Shut Down Grokster... Sort Of

from the sounds-familiar dept

Not a huge surprise, given earlier reports, but the press is reporting that Grokster has shut down, following the controversial Supreme Court ruling. The press account is a little bit inaccurate. While it claims that the firm has completely shut down, the Grokster website indicates they're about to open up another "legal" offering shortly. Of course, we've heard that story before a few times and it usually doesn't amount to much. Anyway, there are a few other things that aren't clearly explained. First, does this mean that Grokster no longer works? One of the main points people always talked about concerning Grokster was that it was decentralized and didn't need the company to exist to work. Is that so? I've never used Grokster or any related file sharing system, so I have no way to check. Second, the text on Grokster's website is misleading, at best. It says: "The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal..." That's actually not what the Supreme Court said at all. The court sent the case back to the lower court, saying that some vague inducement test could be used to put liability on Grokster and others -- but only if they were seen to have actively encouraged copyright violations (something they very well might have done). They didn't say that the service itself was illegal. In fact, you could claim that a new file sharing service, that does exactly what Grokster does, but while encouraging people not to share copyright materials would pass muster with this new test and be perfectly legal. So, it seems likely that the text on the website was actually written by the entertainment industry, who has been pretending the Supreme Court said what it didn't say all along. It's likely that folks in the industry will be celebrating -- but all it really means is that those who file share will have just shifted to another system, further underground that'll be harder to track down.

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  1. identicon
    Chris D, 7 Nov 2005 @ 3:00pm


    ...They'll take down bittorrent now. What a menace.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous, 7 Nov 2005 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Hopefully

    Do you know how hard it would be to take down bittorrent. That would have to shut down all the trackers which can be anybody. I don't think thats possible.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2005 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Hopefully

    just think packet sniffers operate on the internet by allsorts of various governments etc, in the uk ure internet recordas are kept from the ISP for a period of 7 years i think. So it would be a case of mass sueing and prosecution, in ohter words like what has kept goign on, entirely possible to block though just very improbable it would be done sucessfully.

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

  4. identicon
    Seth Finkelstein, 7 Nov 2005 @ 4:32pm

    Also propaganda sites

    Note also, at the bottom of the page, the links to plaintiff copyright-PR websites.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2005 @ 5:17pm

    Re: Hopefully

    I am not sure on this, this is only a thought not a fact, but wouldnt it require an enormous amount of space to record everything that everyone downloads, and plus if I download something copyrighted and they are keeping track of it then they are necessarily downloading copyrighted material also making that illegal. Am I right here?

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

  6. identicon
    Smiling politely, 7 Nov 2005 @ 6:16pm

    Re: Hopefully

    Not if they just keep a log of file transfers using the given program. then it will just say you downloaded whatever.mp3. tho then we go back to people making creative ways to get around filters

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

  7. identicon
    Newob, 8 Nov 2005 @ 2:16am

    Re: Hopefully

    Here's an easy obfuscation: Set up bots to fake downloads of copyrighted stuff so that it's impossible to tell between the real downloaders and the fake ones. After awhile of trying to sue automatons, the record industry will just have to give up!

    (In an ideal happy world where moneyed interests won't eventually send stormtroopers to your door, that is.)

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

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