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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Implications of MGM v. Grokster

The Wall Street Journal is taking a poll asking WSJ.com readers whether they agree with the Supreme Court’s decision in MGM v. Grokster. Right now, the vote is 55% NO to 45% YES.   I’d venture to guess that the WSJ's subscriber base doesn't include too many teenagers or people who came of age with Napster.  So the fact that a majority of the WSJ crowd disagrees with the Court’s decision in Grokster might imply that WSJ readers believe that the decision will curtail technological innovation and the growth of the tech sector (or, of course, it could just reflect a more general distate for governmental interference in the market). 

Many commentators have argued that the decision won’t stifle technological innovation; rather, they contend that the Grokster case just makes it clear that intentionally inducing copyright infringement through technology is foul play. But the question of what constitutes such intent is murky enough that already we are seeing signs that tech entrepreneurs are pulling back. In a New York Times piece, the CEO of a company that makes a file-sharing program called LimeWire gives his take on the case: “Some people are saying that as long as I don’t actively induce infringement, I’m O.K. . . But I don’t think it will work out that way.” His reaction? He’s probably going to shut down LimeWire. It will be interesting to see how many tech entrepreneurs follow suit.

Posted by Marcy Peek on June 28, 2005 at 06:03 PM in Information and Technology | Permalink


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