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Supreme Court ruling on P2P - Firearms implications?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by BryanP, Jun 27, 2005.

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  1. BryanP

    BryanP Member

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    The Supreme Court ruled against the P2P service/software "Grokster" today. Read about it here:

    http://money.cnn.com/2005/06/27/technology/grokster/index.htm

    Here's what caught my eye:

    Could this be re-interpreted to affect the gun manufacturers? With a little word substitution:

     
  2. boofus

    boofus Guest

    Those black robed dictators are out of control! If these people were around in the 70s cassette tapes would have been outlawed, VHS too. Hell take it to the next level and paper and pencils should be outlawed, because they can be used to plagiarize every known written or drawn work.

    The awkward stage in this country can't last much longer at this rate.
     
  3. 2nd Amendment

    2nd Amendment member

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    Luddites. Socialists. Fools.
     
  4. MudPuppy

    MudPuppy Member

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    Or alcohol? Fast (too fast) cars? Books?
     
  5. dolanp

    dolanp Member

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    I thought this at first but I read into the decision more and the reason Grokster lost (unanimously, mind you) was that there was sufficient evidence that they were actively encouraging people to use their software specifically for copyright infringement. They jumped on the bandwagon and resumed services that were shut down after Napster lost.

    After reading it more closely the only implication I think it could have on firearms is if someone put out a gun claiming it was more efficient at committing crimes. "All da cop-killin thugs want dis new gat, yo, it will help you get away from the po-po."
     
  6. dpesec

    dpesec Member

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    right

    That's how I read it. As of today we still can sell our property, oh wait, the government owns that, so what can we sell, ourselves. Wasn't there a little fracas about that 140 years ago?
     
  7. CAS700850

    CAS700850 Member

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    If I remember right, and my Westlaw link is failing today, so I cannot check, I believe that previous rulings about tape recorders and such were that if you purchased an album, tape, movie, etc., and copied that for your own personal use, there was no copyright violation. However, if you made copies and then distributed those copies, you were then violating copyright laws. Back in the days of tapes, this was not a big concern, becuase at most, you made a copy for your car, a buddy or two, and that was it. With the Internet and digital technology, you can distribute thousands of copies of an album, depriving the artist of that income, and potentially violating their intellectual property rights.

    I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with SCOTUS on this one. This software was a tool created solely for the violation of copyright laws, unlike a tape player that has other uses.

    As for how this applies to guns, I don't see it at all. the issue here is the forseeability that the software would be used to commit the copyright violations. There was no doubt about that, given the nature of the software. With firearms, despite what the anti's say, there are plenty of non-criminal uses for firearms. Well, at least there are today. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Control Group

    Control Group Member

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    No, no, no. I'm sorry, but this is completely wrong.

    Just like guns, the device isn't to blame for the crime! Controlling copyright infringement by banning the tools used to accomplish it is exactly the same mentality as controlling murder by banning the tools used to accomplish it. Once it's legitimate to criminalize the tool instead of the criminal, anything can happen. I mean, sure, your little .22 can be used for target shooting, but an MP5 is "a tool created solely for the ending of human life," so you shouldn't get to have one.

    Not to mention that P2P services are used more often than you might think for perfectly legitimate, even positive, purposes. For example, the the story out of the Philippines where a damning recording of President Arroyo on the phone with an election official, asking for the voting to be rigged. That got converted to MP3, and is making the rounds as a ringtone and on P2P services. Political discourse is a legitimate use.

    The point is, banning a technology because it can be - or even because it is generally - used for illegal purposes isn't good policy. After all, I'd be willing to bet cars are used to break speed limits at least as much, on a percentage basis, as Grokster is used to infringe copyright.

    All that being said, creating a tool with the open intent of facilitating illegal behavior is always going to run you afoul of the law. As far as I'm concerned, even if a manufacturer marketed a gun with "All da cop-killin thugs want dis new gat, yo, it will help you get away from the po-po" (to quote dolanp), the gun should still be legal. But it would be a tough case to win.
     
  9. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    Solely?

    What about a garage band that submits its music to such a service to save on bandwidth charges?

    How about BitTorrent? A lot of movies get traded there because the system is ideal for large files. So do a lot of Linux ISOs. Is it solely for infringement? I would posit that BitTorrent does, indeed, have a "sporting use."

    Blame the criminal, not the tool.
     
  10. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    The fallacy here being that just because I downloaded an MP3 of Unskinny Bop somehow the band Poison has been deprived of a record sale.

    :scrutiny:

    Yes, but screeching antis have in the past made exactly this allegation, specifically in relation to inexpensive firearms like those made by Raven and Intratec. This might take some digging, but the antis attempted to highlight an ad for the Tec-9's finish where it was touted as being fingerprint resistant or somesuch nonesense.
     
  11. mercedesrules

    mercedesrules Member

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    The fallacy is: "Intellectual Property (IP) laws are just."

    The enforcement of so-called IP laws is a blatent subsidy for artists that create recordable or reproducible works. First, the artists should be responsible for protecting their own property. Granny's tax dollars shouldn't go to help Metallica retire and collect checks.

    Secondly, as has been mentioned, restricting how one uses his own property (a recording device or computer) is unjust; he owns the thing, after all.

    What is valuable property? For one, it is scarce. How scarce are jillions of bits of info floating around the net?

    This ruling forbids a form of speech - namely listing the uses of a product.

    Government laws concerning the protecting of IP (copyright, patent) should be repealed.
     
  12. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    Apparently when we thought we were purchasing DVD's and CD's for our enjoyment - the court has decided we're renting them. If they were ours, we'd be allowed to share them.
    This court is on a roll. I can't wait til they get a 2nd Amendment case.
     
  13. zahc

    zahc Member

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    I have used P2P programs to share films and movies I make (hobby of mine) with friends that live far away. It's the best way for me to transfer such large files cheaply.
     
  14. dolanp

    dolanp Member

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    Well it's not just about sharing, it's about reproducing and distributing. I have issues with patents on software processes, because anyone who knows how these things work knows that patenting this stuff is completely ridiculous since all software has core functions in common in some way or another. However, there are important reasons these things do exist. Granted many large corporations abuse their copyrights, there are the little guys who write books, invent small things, and publish other sorts of information that benefit from the protection of copyrights. If I decided to write a book I wouldn't want somebody scanning it and putting it on a P2P network.

    So I don't think the issue of copyrights themselves should be in question, but whether a medium can be liable for infringement if it actively encourages said infringement. I didn't realize Grokster did this until I read more into the decision. I believe BitTorrent will probably be safe because it has not ever made the claim that copyright infringement is something it promotes, in fact Linux ISOs were the original intent IIRC.
     
  15. Control Group

    Control Group Member

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    This is intuitively appealing, but generally false in practice. Given the established markets for creative works, copyright serves almost exclusively to the benefit of large corporations, and only rarely to the benefit of an individual inventor.

    Consider: you write a song. Assume that you somehow know that it's a hit song, and has the potential to top the charts. What do you do with it? The only effective way to get the work into the public consciousness in a significant way is to go through the established recording industry, which, as a routine part of the process, will buy the copyright from you. Now they own it, you do not, and copyright no longer protects you. Your contract potentially does (though generally just means you end up owing them money), but that's not the same thing. If you want to keep control of your copyright, you have a couple options: be as successful as Ray Charles, who eventually managed to negotiate ownership of his own material (something the Beatles failed to do as a group, and McCartney has failed to do as an individual), or publish it yourself. If you go the latter route, P2P services and internet copying are your friend, assuming you have the production capacity to even come up with a final product.

    Patents, since they're still limited in time frame (as opposed to copyrights, which are effectively unbounded - consider the Sonny Bono Copyright Act, which retroactively extended copyright protection), are less inherently offensive. Though you're right about patenting a software process: that's just as ridiculous as patenting any other mathematical function.

    As far as your comment regarding scanning your novel and P2Ping it, actually, that's the best thing that could happen to you as an aspiring author. Consider the case of Corey Doctorow, who parleyed giving his book (Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom) away online into a paper publishing run. Or look at what Baen Books is doing with its free library to promote its authors. They, as a publisher, are giving away many of their books at no charge.
     
  16. dolanp

    dolanp Member

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    Well in the end the individual made the choice to sell his copyrights away in hopes for higher profit so the responsibility ultimately rests on his shoulder.
     
  17. TheEgg

    TheEgg Member

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    This is key here folks. Napster and Grokster were PRIMARILY in existence to steal intellectual property, despite other minor uses.

    Now I will ignore the diatribes that will inevitably follow that seek to justify intellectual piracy.

    Just becuase you want it and don't want to pay for it, does not mean you can rip it off. Morally bankrupt position. Intellectual property is just as real as your car.

    Even a blind pig finds an acorn every once in a while - the S.C. got this one right.
     
  18. NIGHTWATCH

    NIGHTWATCH Member

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  19. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    How about the patents associated with a new, low-emission auto engine. Or a new design for a computer? What if you can just copy the processing chip. Aren't those intellectual property rights, too?

    Should a company just be allowed to COPY, bolt by bolt, a fine BMW and sell it for a lower price -- something they could do because they didn't have to do the R&D. How about a Jet engine or airliner?

    How about the development of any product that is time-consuming and expensive? Should those development processes not be protected?

    I wonder how much NEW stuff will get developed if there are no intellectual property rights protecting the effort and resources of those who build things.
     
  20. Ian

    Ian Member

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    TheEgg - Are you suggesting that the Feds would be justified in banning, say, Lorcin pistols if they found that more Lorcins are used in crimes than not?

    Edit - Walt, as someone else has mentioned, there is a difference between patents and copyrights. A copyright on a song legally endures forever, whereas a patent has an enforceable life of only a few years. The patent is intended for just the sort of developments you mentioned. They allowthe inventor a period of sole ownership in which to rake in a huge pile of cash, but then open the concept up for duplication. Indeed, without that duplication progress slows down, as it is impossible for other people to improve the original design, and so long as the inventor is the only one allowed to market it, he has no motive to improve it.

    A (permanent) copyright is supposed to be put on something like a company name or product name to prevent fraud or mistaken identity of the company or product. The copyrighted name in theory isn't something marketable, simply an identifier.

    Allowing the copyright of marketable material has changed the dynamic of product monopolization, for better or worse.
     
  21. Control Group

    Control Group Member

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    Completely false. Intellectual property is inherently non-scarce, my car is inherently scarce. The framers recognized this fundamental distinction, which is why they specifically said Congress could secure copyrights for a limited time in order to further the useful arts and sciences. They made no such statements about limited times regarding real, scarce, property. You'll also note that the framers never called "intellectual property" by that name, as they recognized it as fundamentally not real property.

    Just because you want me to treat a non-scarce resource as though it were scarce because you can make money that way doesn't mean I should have to.
     
  22. Control Group

    Control Group Member

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    This is why I draw a distinction between copyright and patent law. And you'll note that the very act of getting a patent is granting the right to other manufacturers to sell exact duplicates of your item once the patent expires in a couple decades. If you want to protect your invention, you have to protect it as a trade secret - which means you don't tell anyone about it, but if someone else figures it out by reverse-engineering, they can sell a product based on it tomorrow.

    The patent system is designed specifically to encourage copies and derivations of inventions, with a relatively brief delay built into the beginning to incent invention.

    You may or may not be alluding to copyright, here, and if you aren't, ignore my response.

    Response number one is that copyright, certainly extended copyrights as we now have, is a relatively new (last century) innovation. Plenty of books and musical works were written before copyright became life of the author plus 75 years (for individual authorship) or publish date plus 90 years (for corporate authorship).

    Response number two is that even if you're right, the real crime is the retroactive extension of copyright, as the Sonny Bono Act did. You will not convince me that passing a law in the mid-nineties will incent authorship in the 1920s. But that's what Congress did, extending copyright to further cover works which had already been produced (and therefore didn't need incentives to write) and were going to enter the public domain. This, of course, is an end-run around the "limited times" clause in the Constitution, making copyright effectively unlimited.

    Response number three, connected to the above, is that the public domain is good for creative works. Consider the classic Disney movies (such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, etc.): based on public domain fiction. They subsequently turn around and lobby hard to prevent any of their property entering the public domain, thereby preventing anyone else from doing exactly what they did.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2005
  23. Azrael256

    Azrael256 Member

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    No, he's saying that Lorcin would be liable if they started printing "Kill your neighbors!" "Cap that disrespectin' fool on tha' corner," and "Exclusively designed for use in schoolyard massacres," all over the box.
     
  24. TheEgg

    TheEgg Member

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    yup. exactly.

    AND:

    "rip and burn" is NOT a morally honest stance. It is just "I don't want to pay for it and technology lets me steal it SO easily, I can't resist the temptation."
     
  25. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff Senior Member

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    the whole thing is a farce. sales may have declined because of p2p sharing, but they are still reporting profits. just not as much as they'd like.

    they still make money. they are not starving on the streets.

    but what do i care? i only use p2p for stuff you can't buy, like hi-res music videos.
    oh yeah, and if i can ever find the 20 gigs worth of tool-concert audio i'll use p2p to re-download that.
     
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