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Artists Break With Industry on File Sharing

As a result, the company argues, it meets the legal standard set by the Supreme Court in 1984, when it ruled that Sony Corp.'s Betamax television recorder was not liable for copyright infringement because it had substantial legal uses.

The entertainment industry's position also was opposed today by other file-sharing firms, major telecommunications companies, electronics makers, and coalitions of computer scientists, inventors, consumer and digital-rights advocacy groups.


Rapper Chuck D is among a group of artists who argue that Web sites for file-sharing allow musicians to reach a larger audience. (Eric Gaillard -- Reuters)

_____Story Archive_____
Digital Copyright Disparate Cast Lobbies Court To Restrict File Sharing (The Washington Post, Jan 26, 2005)
U.S. Asks High Court to Curb File Swapping (The Washington Post, Jan 25, 2005)
Tech Firms to Seek Legal Protection From Pirating (The Washington Post, Jan 24, 2005)
High Court To Weigh File Sharing (The Washington Post, Dec 11, 2004)
Appeals Court Ruling Favors File-Sharing (The Washington Post, Aug 20, 2004)
File-Swap Sites Not Infringing, Judge Says (The Washington Post, Apr 26, 2003)
_____Case Documents_____
Archive FindLaw collected briefs, previous rulings, profiles and commentary on one Web page.

_____Digital Rights_____
Downloading: The Next Generation (washingtonpost.com, Feb 28, 2005)
High-Tech Tension Over Illegal Uses (The Washington Post, Feb 22, 2005)
Disparate Cast Lobbies Court To Restrict File Sharing (The Washington Post, Jan 26, 2005)
More Stories

They argue that holding technology creators, or the companies that handle Internet traffic, liable for the acts of their users would make it too risky for innovators to develop products that have legal uses and which enhance the enjoyment of digital entertainment.

"This case is simply the latest in a long string of instances in which copyright owners, frightened by a new technological development" seek to place restrictions on electronic devices, Internet access services, and even on personal computers to try to prevent piracy, said a filing by the major telephone, wireless and Internet service providers.

Instead, said companies including SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., the entertainment industry can properly continue to sue individual file-swappers who break the law.

The Recording Industry Association of America has sued more than 6,500 people, and announced another 753 suits yesterday, including against some Grokster users.

The telecommunications companies also said Congress should decide how to punish services that exist solely to encourage and enable piracy.

The Distributed Computing Industry Association, which represents file-sharing and other technology firms, said the entertainment industry's real agenda is to protect its monopoly.

Grokster "threatens that monopoly by providing a near cost-free distribution mechanism, which supports far more content than even Web-based distribution systems," the group said.

Other groups filing briefs in support of Grokster's position include the Consumer Electronics Association, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, and Public Knowledge, a digital-rights advocacy group.


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