Shorter Hon. John T. Noonan
[via boing boing]
Judge Noonan, one of the Ninth Circuit judges who listened to the Morpheus case in which the legality of building a tool without the entertainment industry's permission -- and hence the future of the Internet -- is being decided directed this blast at Ramos, the attorney arguing the entertainment industry's side:"Let me say what I think your problem is. You can use these harsh terms ["piracy," "theft"], but you are dealing with something new, and the question is, does the statutory monopoly that Congress has given you reach out to that something new. And that's a very debatable question. You don't solve it by calling it 'theft.' You have to show why this court should extend a statutory monopoly to cover the new thing. That's your problem. Address that if you would. And curtail the use of abusive language."EFF is now hosting the entire argument in the case as an MP3, which is in the public domain. My cow-worker Donna Wentworth sums up some other good linkage in her blog post: [Link]
The recording of the hearing is HERE, via the EFF.
The EFF, et. al., raised the typical arguments about stifling innovation, and also cited the early Xerox cases (where institutions owning photocopiers, not Xerox, were found responsible for enforcing or breaking copyright) and the SONY BetaMAX case. What is interesting with those arguments is that if the federal courts uphold the appeal and deny an injunction against Streamcast and Grokster, it will be a de facto sanction of the RIAA cases against individual users. Another interesting argument, raised by the lawyers for MGM, is whether copyright infringement can be used for advertising. The argument goes like this: regardless of whether the networks and their creators themselves can be held liable for their users' actions, they are still infringing copyrights because users come to the networks because they can search for copyrighted materials, "not because the technology is cool," as Ramos put it. In other words, P2P networks use illegal activity as a marketing tool. If the court buys that argument, I wonder what would happen if a P2P required all users to check out betas and made a real push to involve users in the Open Source project end of things, but then let users swap whatever files they wanted to "test" the design...just a thought.
Everyone, go listen to the hearing!