Three Events In File Wars

Item One: Two Weeks Before RIAA May Get A Big Goodie

You may recall that a few months ago, a U.S. judge issued a subpoena to Verizon ordering it as an ISP to turn over the name of someone who did a bunch of P2P downloading
to the RIAA.

We talked quite a bit about both the facts and the legalities back then.

Verizon asked the judge to quash (void) the subpoena on a number of Constitutional grounds.

The judge saw no merit in their points, so he said no.

Verizon then asked the jusge not to enforce the subpoena until it appealed to higher courts.

The judge refused to do that on his own, saying he saw little to no possibilities Verizon could win on their points on appeal, but gave Verizon 14 days to ask the Court of Appeals if they might want to do that.

If the appeals court says yes, the case goes on.

If the appeals court says no, Verizon must turn over the name of the miscreant to the RIAA after 14 days. If they don’t, then Verizon will be held in contempt of court, which usually means Club Fed for somebody at Verizon.

RIAA already has six more subpoena for Verizon ready. If this case ends in the next two weeks, there will be a ton more to come.

The clock is ticking . . . .

Item Two: MPAA Loses In Court Over P2P

In this case, the MPAA tried to make two creators of P2P software liable for the copyright infringements of those who use the software.

In other words, you commit the crime, they serve the time (actually, pay the fines), too. Like suing a knife manufacturer for a stabbing.

The court did not buy that.

The MPAA tried to make these two sound just like Napster, but the court found a difference in that Napster was actually involved in the illegal transactions, while the P2P software makers were not.

In other words, Napster not only provided the knife, but held the guy during the stabbing, while these folks just provided the knife, which has a few other uses besides illegal ones.

The legal reasoning was quite sound, so even if appealed, it’s very doubtful the results will change.

However, all the court said was that the makers of P2P software couldn’t be sued for copyright infringement. It did not say at all that the users of P2P software couldn’t be sued for copyright infringement.

So it’s good for the software makers in that they can’t be driven out of business, but this decision doesn’t help P2P users at all.

Item Three: Linus Says DRM Is OK For Linux

Linus Torvalds, the god of Linux, says, “I want to make it clear that DRM is perfectly ok with Linux!”

Read his comments to see exactly what he said, but the gist of them is that DRM is allowable in the Linux kernel, not required nor banned.

Some apparently wanted the Linux OS to take a political stand against DRM, which would have been suicidal should the U.S government/EU legislate DRM into law. For instance, IBM isn’t exactly an outlaw organziation.

In short, if sometime in a DRM future, you want to be an outlaw, you do the deed, and be accountable for it.

Which, if Item One goes the way it looks like it’s going, will be a lot more likely than it is now.

Email Ed

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