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Should P2P programs be illegal? [filesharing]

Should P2P programs be illegal?

  • Yes - they are the reason files are shared illegally

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • No - the program isn't the problem, the people are

    Votes: 11 84.6%
  • Maybe - it depends on how they are sharing the files [elaborate in post]

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • Opinion not available [elaborate in post]

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Benevolent Dictator
DP Veteran
May 19, 2004
Reaction score
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Source: Netimperative

The US Supreme Court will today commence hearing the latest round in the battle between MGM Studios and Grokster, which could rule the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) applications illegal.
The case looks specifically at whether companies that develop P2P software are liable to prosecution should it be used to transfer copyrighted material illegally.

The defendants - Grokster and StreamCast Networks - have already won the first two rounds, the courts ruling in their favour in both the original case in 2003, and the appeal in August 2004.

Should the Supreme Court uphold the previous two decisions it would then take an act of Congress to outlaw existing P2P technologies, which would prove a significant blow to Hollywood studios and record companies currently waging a war on internet piracy.

Conversely, should the court overturn the previous rulings and find against Grokster, it will destroy a previous ruling made by the Supreme Court regarding the use of video recorders in the 1980s.
A change of course by the Supreme Court could have devastating effects. Not only would it stop P2P trading (illegal AND legal) but it could outlaw many now legal devices such as the VCR, TiVo, iPod, etc. If the decision trumps previous ones.

Moreover, I've got musician friends that put up there works on eMule, Limewire, etc to get more exposure. They own their copyrights and are distributing their product as they see fit. That’s just one example of how it’s not all piracy.

Thirdly, precedent has already been set in the “Betamax Case”
Handing down its decision in October 1979, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of Sony, stating that taping off air for entertainment or time shifting constituted fair use; that copying an entire program also qualified as fair use; that set manufacturers could profit from the sale of VCRs; and that the plaintiffs did not prove that any of the above practices constituted economic harm to the motion picture industry.
Due to the fact that record sales are up as well as P2P usage, I’m not sure how the RIAA can prove economic harm.
So is it possible that CD sales and P2P are decoupled (as all the quantitative, independent research indicates), and that the downturn in CD sales is better laid at the feed of bad business, a bad economy, fewer albums and more things competing for entertainment dollars (cough games cough Internet cough).
The number of CDs and other music products shipped from record labels to retail merchants rose 2 percent last year, to 814 million units, the first annual increase in five years, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
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