Grokster to stop distributing file-sharing service

“File-sharing service Grokster Ltd. will stop distributing software that allows users to copy songs without permission as part of a settlement with the recording industry, an industry group said on Monday,” Andy Sullivan reports for Reuters. “The settlement with the Recording Industry Association of America comes four months after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Grokster and other ‘peer to peer’ networks could be held liable if they induce users into violating copyright laws.”

Sullivan reports, “The decentralized nature of most peer-to-peer software makes it uncontrollable once it is released over the Internet. However, shutting off sites where users first download the software may strangle the flow of new users. ‘There are legal services for downloading music and movies. This service is not one of them,’ read a notice on Grokster’s Web site.”

Full article here.

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  1. This ‘inducement’ argument is total bullcrap.
    If that’s the case then the gun lobby should be concerned that similar legislation could be used to argue that selling guns induces people into shooting other people.

  2. What percentage of traffic on Grokster was legal?…

    Interestig that the message centered around illegal downloading of music. Anything there indicating what foks could use (outside of music) for legal downloads?

    I can’t see using it for self-protection..

  3. I have a friend who uses Kazaa to download illegal music. I told him to buy from iTunes – legally. His response was “I am doing it legally, I paid $29.95 for unlimited downloads.” Yes, he honestly believes he paid and what he is doing is legal. No, he’s not an idiot. Why does he think it’s legal? Because the first statement on the Kazaa website states “Search for and download music, movies, games, software, images and documents.” Observing copyrights is listed under the Using Kazaa Safely section as “Read important information about using Kazaa safely.”

    Come on, they know why people use their software.

  4. I’m sure that I’ll get flamed for each of the three points I’m about to make, but here I go anyway with my rant:

    1) Companies such as Sony (also a record label) made a GIGANTIC amount of money on those cassette-dubbing boomboxes that were so popular during the 90’s because people enjoyed being able to share music with one another. I don’t remember Sony or any of the other manufacturers/labels asking for the public to stop sharing music. Indeed, the artists, as I recall, didn’t complain either because they were smart enough to figure out that sharing GOOD music often increases sales of that music. It’s like Baskin Robbins – you can taste all 31+ flavors if you so desire because BR knows that you’ll spend more than enough money on a full serving of ice cream to compensate them for their “loss”. Because audiotapes were analog and MP3 is digital is not a solid enough reason for Sony and others to have such a drastic change of heart.

    2) Also, I do not put too much faith in what the Supreme Court has to say because the SC is not about justice – it is about protecting the interests of the wealthy. I can cite two reasons for my point of view (there are more, or course). First, the Supreme Courts of yesterday said that the enslavement and later the segregation of Blacks was legal. And just this year, the SC said that it was allowed for greedy developers to seize your private property without your consent – they do have to pay you “fair” market price though. So, ask yourself… did the rich people win or lose in the SC case mentioned in the above article. If/When I have kids, I guess I’ll have to teach him/her that sharing toys is illegal too – after all, the toy companies would make more money if my kids’ friends were all forced to buy that toy. And, we mustn’t forget that it takes money for the toy companies to design and market the toys they make. Oh the suffering…

    3) Looking at the video side of things for a moment, consider a well-beloved show from the 90’s called SeaQuest DSV. This show is not currently available on VHS or DVD, according to the Internet Movie Database. Now, I submit that it is better to share the poor-quality recordings that were made when episodes of the show were originally broadcast versus paying someone for such material. Indeed, I agree that SELLING the video of SeaQuest is illegal. But, SHARING such material when it is not available in an official format is acceptable as far as I am concerned. Also, consider that many people simply use P2P like a VCR – say that I download an episode of a contemporary show that I forgot to watch/tape when it aired. It’s just like a friend recorded it on his/her VCR knowing that I might forget that it was going to be on. What’s the difference?

    Rant done… Flame on if you must!

  5. copyright violation is still copyright violation.

    Yes, people swapped cassettes, but the quality wasn’t great and you most likely didn’t nake a copy for everybody in your family and millions of strangers.

    The difference between cassette swapping and p2p file swapping is that cassette swapping is most likely done betweeen actual friends/family. Usually on a fairly limited basis.

    P2P is almost exclusivly done between strangers.
    I’ve met people with literally 10 or 15 thousand songs and they haven’t paid for anything in years (if ever).

    I doubt you could find somebody with 10 or 15 blank cassettes from the hey days of the boombox era.

  6. ‘The quality wasn’t great’,…
    Yeah but at the time it was all we had. we’d never heard of digital music until CDs came in the early/mid 80s. I remember taping CDs to tapes for my car, and the quality as far as I remember was as good as a proper bought Cassette.

  7. come on, Sigh…
    I have a confession to make. After a couple of years downloading music, and recently been given 24 DVDs of mp3s from a freind he’d acumulated via downloading and what his friends had given him, plus dumping the 400 or so CDs that I had actually paid for during my younger years before Napster was even heard of into the mix, I have emassed around 42,000 songs. And you know what? I’m forever hitting the next button (right arrow key) in iTunes (random play), waiting for a song that I actualy like to play. In other words having a huge stockpile of music (for me anyway) has proved more of a headache than a joy. What’s the point in have thousands of songs if you only like 20-30% of it all. I’m thinking of going through it and trashing what I don’t like. It’s just to much to manage. And ther still ain’t an iPod big enough to hold it all even at 128k.

  8. I agree with Jerry and also Sigh.

    My music a small subset of what I could have and that suits me fine. I would bet that it is true of even the most ardent pirate. Thre is no economic loss, in effect Piracy amongst users is small potatoes but makes a convenient target. They can’t attack the fact that computers make them unecessary so you have evil, criminal pirates “stealing” music.

    The real issue is to destroy the community. The community that is inherent in the technology at our fingertips. Whether it be file swapping, bulletin boards, etc, they want to turn it into a revenue stream.

    They have failed in the past and can only succeed in the future when they make ownership conform to a rental model and take away our ability to own our files.

    The case against grokster was more about the free flow of information, because ultimately, Information wants to be free.

  9. Hi all,

    Let’s put this in a computer context, shall we?

    Mac OS X is what I see as being the perfect blend between the legitimate demand of companies to be compensated for their products and the need for sharing. OS X can trace its routes all the way back the Homebrew Computer Club, a place where, If I understand correctly, there was a free exchange of ideas with no, “I gave you that idea 15 years ago so you owe me 10 gazillion dollars now,” mentality. Then, Apple became one of the most proprietary companies ever to have existed on this planet. Now, via Unix-based OS X, a balance has been realized. From time to time, Apple gives code back to the open source community. Open source then improves upon that code and shares it with Apple, and so on.

    If Apple didn’t share at all, OS X would not exist in its current form. Thus sharing has been a good thing for Apple. If Apple shared everything, they would have no money with which to innovate, and Mac OS X would not exist in its present form either. It’s all about balance…

    Buy a little and share a little too! :~)

  10. Sigh, music companies did fight against taping of audio music, and then companies fought against video taping. It had nothing to do with quality, or the companies realizing anything about guerilla marketing or grassroots marketing. The Supreme Court ruled, yes, that SC, the one you hate as being white supremicists, they ruled that the primary purpose of those recording devices was legal. Emphasis on primary. Grokster’s primary purpose was deemed not legal. If they hadn’t encouraged the illegal trading of copyrighted material, they’d still be here.

    MW: values, as in some people don’t know what they are

  11. Well, sigh, I don’t really feel like this is a flame, but I do think you have a few skewed concepts.

    As to the supreme court, the role is not to legislate but to decide law with respect to the constitution. When the Dread Scott decision was rendered, it affirmed existing law. When folks disagreed with the law, and the ruling, the constitution was altered by the legislature to counter that law and that decision. the system worked, not as quickly as some would have liked, but it worked.

    Secondly, with the most recent decision you referenced, legislation is already under way in several states to counteract the SC and to extend protection to property owners against developers, being aided by city hall.

    If or when you have kids, it’s perfectly legal to buy a Tonka Truck and take it to the sandbox and let you child share that with someone else.
    I don’t think that is the same as using a mechanical or electronic process to clone the Tonka Truck and then give ownership of these replicated clones with 5,000 other people, in violation of the copyrights and patents of the company who created the Tonka Truck. And that’s really what we are talking about with this discussion, not me lending you my CD to listen to, but me giving you and anyone who wants it an exact copy of my CD.
    Two entirely different concepts.

  12. KenC,

    I am aware of the Betamax case; I’d love for you to enlighten me as to other such cases (audio etc.). Also, the Betamax case was not, as I understand it, the industry vs. citizens — it was the industry vs. itself!

    While I’ll concede to you that the Betamax case did set a precedent in terms of copyright, you’ll notice on the following link just how little concern these companies had for their customers. You’ll note that the only major difference between the Betamax case and what is happening now is that, at least as far as I can find, the industry never sued the customers.

    You might also be interested to know that Universal has an extremely bad reputation for their DVD’s at the moment (e.g. Quantum Leap). Interesting how the same company that failed to value the rights of customers to choose in the 70’s/80’s continues to do the same thing today!

    BTW, the amount of $ that I have spent, and continue to spend, on movies/music each year is staggering in terms of my income — don’t judge people until you know all of the facts.

  13. Turbo,

    You did not flame me and I thank you for that.

    On the Tonka Truck issue I can see where you’re coming from — we indeed cannot clone toys. The only point I was trying to make was that multiple people were getting use from the same toy. The ideal world for the toy companies would be if Johnny let Suzie barrow the Truck in the sandbox only long enough for Suzie to then desire one of her own. The music/movie companies’ and the toy companies’ ideal world is the same one — in my humble opinion.

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