Grokster: “More important than God”

Forget timeliness, here’s everything Grokster-related together in one really big post:

Actual Reporting

SCOTUSBlog (Lyle Denniston): Court conflicted over file-swapping: “The Supreme Court put on public display Tuesday two conflicting reactions to the apparently widespread practice of downloading copyrighted songs and movies from the Internet: a concern that software makers may be too enthusiastically encouraging the habit, and a concern that copyright law not be made so restrictive that it stifles new surges of technology creativity.”
AP (Ted Bridis): Justice consider legality of sharing movies and music on Internet: “During a lively argument, justices wondered aloud whether such lawsuits might have discouraged past inventions like copy machines, videocassette recorders and iPod portable music players – all of which can be used to make illegal duplications of copyrighted documents, movies and songs.” (John Borland): Supreme Court takes hard look at P2P: “In their questions, the justices were critical of the entertainment industry’s proposal, which would hold companies “predominantly” supported by piracy liable for copyright infringement. However, they showed little sympathy for the file-swapping companies’ business model.”
NY Times (Linda Greenhouse): Justices Seem Responsive to Arguments on File Sharing: “The much-heralded Supreme Court showdown in the Grokster case today between old-fashioned entertainment and new-fangled technology found the justices surprisingly responsive to warnings from Grokster and its allies that a broad definition of copyright infringement could curtail innovation”
Slate (Emily Bazelon): Grok Around the Clock: “The justices seem vexed by their choice. They don’t want to be the Luddites who killed off the next iPod, but they also don’t want to abandon all pretense of enforcing federal copyright law. ”
Wired News (Katie Dean): File Sharing Has Supreme Moment: “The file-sharing fight reached the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, and the burning question among the justices was how to protect copyrights without restraining future tech.”
Jay Flemma (perhaps the only writer to discuss both golf and Grokster in the same blog post): Maryland Golf – Virginia Golf – Grokster and the Supreme Court: The court was cognizant of the need to protect inventors of technology from being chilled from creating technologies which might have both infringing and non-infringing uses, but also stressed that the internet download companies were ‘willfully ignorant to and indeed induced massive infringement.'”
Tim Armstrong: A Few Notes from the Grokster Argument: “The big issue that the Justices were wrestling with, it seemed to me, is what the standard ought to be for deciding whether services like Grokster can be secondarily liable for their users’ copyright infringement.  The Justices did not sound especially satisfied with either MGM’s or the government’s answers to this question.”
James DeLong (Progress & Freedom Foundation): Grokster Day: Grokster was argued in the Supreme Court today. The issues are tough, and the Justices amused themselves tossing curve balls at all the attorneys, not to mention sliders and a knuckler or two.
Wetmachine: Tales of the Sausage Factory: My Day With the Supremes “There are advantages to being a member of the Supreme Court Bar. One is, you get to go and hear the arguments from the Supreme Court Bar section. Guess what I did today! While you will get tons of info from other websites, this is probably the only place you will see someone say that Justice Rehnquist now sounds like a bad combination of Darth Vader and the Emperor from “Return of the Jedi”….”
Harlan Yu: MGM v. Grokster: Breaking Down the Oral Arguments: “The questions they asked showed that they clearly understood the big picture and the broad implications this case has on the future of innovation. This understanding is undoubtedly good for Grokster and the Justices’ questions made me quite optimistic as to the outcome of the case. Below, I’ll attempt to break down what each Justice is thinking based on the oral arguments.”


Chris Anderson in the LA Times: The Grokster Case’s Silent Majority: “The Supreme Court should recognize that there is a silent majority in this case, made up not of pirates or the pop stars but the millions of individual talents who risk getting caught in the crossfire.”
Travis Kalanick in the FT: Comment: MGM v Grokster
Andrew Leonard in Music rules: A Supreme Court ruling against peer-to-peer network Grokster would do more than punish music pirates. It would affect the future of the Internet.
Dick Armey in the Washington Times: Protect intellectual property rights: “Taking something for free that you would otherwise have to pay for is called stealing. You can’t walk into a store and take a music CD, a DVD movie or software for a computer game without paying for it. Yet everyday, tens of millions of copyright-protected songs, movies, computer games and other pieces of intellectual property are downloaded for free — stolen over Grokster and other similar P2P networks.”
Gelf Magazine: Mark Cuban on Grokster: “‘Most of the problems I have are with copyright law and the politicians who get paid to pimp for the studios and labels,’ Mark Cuban tells Gelf Magazine, in explaining why he’s waded into the legal battle over online file sharing.”
Ernest Miller: More Editorial Board Takes on Grokster: “Rather than look at all the commentary, I want to look at a couple of places where some of the authors don’t get it.”
LA Times: California’s Civil War: “What the entertainment industry wants is veto power over technology with the potential to be used illegally. That’s not in society’s best interest. If those creating the peer-to-peer networks could be held liable for illegal activity, where do we draw the line? Why not go after the manufacturers of operating systems, hard drives and CD burners that can also play a role in illegal activity?”
Daniel Henninger in the WSJ: Can Justice Scalia Solve the Riddles Of the Internet? “As the berobed Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court sat pestering the suits who came before them days ago to contest Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, a case nominally about the arcana of ‘peer-to-peer file sharing,’ it would have been entirely appropriate had a subversive in the gallery pulled out his wondrous iPod, shoved a teensy PodWave external speaker into the thing and filled the grand chamber with Bob Dylan’s ancient, famously prophetic lyrics: ‘Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mister Jones?'”


C-SPAN: Fred Von Lohmann, Electronic Frontier Foundation, & Theodore Olson, Motion Pictures Assoc.: “Fred Von Lohmann, Senior Staff Attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Theodore Olson, Former Solicitor General for the Bush Administration (2001-2004) and Representative of the Recording Industry and Motion Pictures Association, discuss the Supreme Court case on sharing music and video files over the internet.” (Real)
NPR Morning Edition: Supreme Court Hears Copyright, File-Sharing Case
The Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC): Copy-rights and copy-wrongs, with Nick Thompson (Legal Affiars), Dan Glickman (MPAA) and Joe Fleisher (Big Champagne).
The Connection (WBUR): Supreme File Trial with Declan McCullough, (, Daryl Friedman (NARAS), Lawrence Lessig (Stanford Law School), and Fred von Lohmann (EFF)>

The Scene

Wired News: Camping Out for the Grokster Case: “Forget Star Wars premieres. A seat at the MGM Studios v. Grokster Supreme Court hearing Tuesday morning was the hottest ticket in town.”
Machination: This will get a better title later: evolving superficial thoughts and on-the-ground observations from MGM vs. Grokster: “Outside the court demonstrations in favor the p2p technology, public domain works, creative commons licensing and the like were had next to demonstrations against “stealing music.” If that sounds like it doesn’t quite mesh, like people, for the most part, weren’t quite talking to (or yelling at) each other in the same terms, then you feel how I felt”
Luminous Void: Oops. I was too late. “I got there and there were roughly 40-50 people in line. Expectations were that 50 would get in — maybe less, I’ve heard rumors of lots of VIP’s. So there was a high risk of a cold overnite for naught.”
JewishBuddha: Foiled Again! MGM v. Grokster: “I got into the 10 Commandments cases, but not into either of the two copyright cases I tried to attend. From this, I can only conclude that copyright is more important than God.”