Ruling Sets Back Music Industry's Piracy Battle

In a big setback for the music and movie industries, a federal appeals court upheld an earlier decision that said operators of online swap networks aren't liable for their users' actions. In essence, the ruling says file-sharing software is legal. That sets the stage for a potential showdown before the U.S. Supreme Court and more lobbying for legislative solutions.
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The USA Today article is oversimplified and misstates key facts. The decision is available from the 9th Circuit website MGM v. Groakster

What was found was that Grokster and StreamCast networks who did not have a central server to direct users to recorded works (as opposed to napster which did) have other legitimate uses and cannot be held responsible for improper use by those who use its software. This bodes well for those file swapping software firms that have no central servers.

Of course this was a 3 judge panel of the 9th Circus, it most certainly will be appealed to a 11 judge panel, and perhaps to the Court en banc. (27 or 28 judges I forget the exact #- they have met en banc only a few times.

The most interesting part of the decision was the note that copyright holders have been complaining about unauthorized reproduction of their works since the time of the player piano. I found that interesting.

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