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The MGM vs. Grokster Case

WWW- The last month Supreme Court decision in MGM vs. Grokster case will not remain without consequences and members of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation met this past Thursday to discuss if legislation is needed to bolster the court’s decision.

Ted Stevens, the head of the Senate Commerce Committee, has said that many senators are decided to move against file-sharing firms, if they will fail to take action to stop copyright infringement or to filter pornography.

“I hope you’re listening,” he said loudly to Adam M. Eisgrau, executive director of P2P United, a file-sharing trade group. “We can hardly accuse people abroad of stealing our property if we can’t protect it at home.”

Stevens was joined by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who told Eisgrau, “If you don’t move to protect copyright, if you don’t move to protect our children, it’s not going to sit well.”

But Adam Eisgrau, executive director of P2P United, told the senators that any claim of a “technological magic bullet” to filter out illicit content “is simply false.”

Stevens noted that another hearing would be held in the fall to discuss how porn is distributed through file-sharing software and how filters could be put in place to protect children.

Adam Eisgrau proposed a solution and he said that the Congress should convene a summit between the file-sharing community and the music industry to discuss a licensing system, similar to one that compensates artists every time a song is played on the radio.

“But there is a catch,” warned Eisgrau. “The entertainment industries, I’m sorry to say, have unilaterally declared any kind of collective licensing for P2P–even voluntary systems–to be an absolute non-starter, and have refused multiple invitations to discuss the concept systematically in any forum.”

According to Forrester Research, creating legislation on file-sharing is not an easy task. “It will take two years for the lawsuits against Grokster, Streamcast, and other file-sharing services to come to a conclusion. But, as we’ve said before, a ruling against them will not stop online piracy”.

In the same study about file sharing, Josh Bernoff from Forrester Research concluded also that “software like eDonkey, developed by multiple developers in an open source network, leaves nobody to sue except users – and so far, suing users has been a limited deterrent. A recent Forrester survey shows that only 21% of online youth have stopped downloading because they “worry about getting caught.””


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