Glockster

What stunning reasoning:

In a decision announced by Justice David H. Souter, the Court said: “We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties” — that is, computer users using free downloading software.

Hmmm, how about restating it as the following:

In a decision announced by Justice David H. Souter, the Court said: “We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of shooting lethal metal projectiles through the air, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster shooting lethal metal projectiles through the air, is liable for the resulting acts of murder by third parties…”

or perhaps:

In a decision announced by Justice David H. Souter, the Court said: “We hold that one who advertises a car with the object of promoting its ability to go fast, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster speeding, is liable for the resulting acts of speeding by third parties…”

or maybe:

In a decision announced by Justice David H. Souter, the Court said: “We hold that one who distributes a television show with the object of glorifying risky sexual behavior, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to promote risky sexual behavior, is liable for the resulting acts of venereal disease infection”.

No, none of these is an exact fit, but they get the point across I think.

How about asking the SCOTUS justices a few basic questions:

  • Last time I checked, it was congress who made legislation, with the President’s approval. Did the Induce Act pass congress? Was it signed by the President? Not the last time I checked. Not that it needs to be passed now, since SCOTUS just conveniently did it for them.

  • As a piece of software, Grokster itself is copyrightable. Anything copyrightable should qualify for first amendment protections, no? So if I point out to a friend that that guy in the van over there is selling stolen merchandise, am I now liable for inducing him to make such an illegal purchase?
  • How can a court that evidently believes that a man doesn’t own his own home (Kelo) be so absolutist in its defense of “intellectual property rights” (or is it just that SCOTUS prefers to side with cartels given the chance)? Where does the phrase “intellectual property” exist in the constitution? Isn’t what MGM in possession of more of an exclusive right to make copies and derivative works for a limited time? Doesn’t Grokster’s existence and the activities that occur on its “network” say something about what the people think about the “limited times” set by congress? Doesn’t it say something about what people think of the price and the length of time congress has given to copyright holders? In a democracy, shouldn’t the representatives be reflective of the will of those they serve? Doesn’t the fact that this massive amount of piracy exists say something about the disconnect between the people and those who claim to represent them?

I think I’ve asked enough questions for now. In the meantime, read Cory Doctorow on it. Oh, and if you advertise, I would stop it now. Because who knows what ills you may be “inducing” your customers to engage in with your products.

 
 

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