--- Subscription Options ----------------
Subscribe to this blog via RSS

Recent Posts

Thursday, August 13, 2009

U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel broke with tradition in a recent case, expanding copyright protections further beyond their original, intended purpose. The motion picture industry took Seattle-based RealNetworks, Inc. to court over their inexpensive DVD copying software, RealDVD.

In Sony Corp. of America vs. Universal City Studios, Inc. (1984), the Supreme Court ruled that manufacturers of video recording devices cannot be held liable for copyright infringement. The majority opinion stated:

...the sale of copying equipment, like the sale of other articles of commerce, does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is widely used for legitimate, unobjectionable purposes. Indeed, it need merely be capable of substantial noninfringing uses....

If there are millions of owners of VTR's who make copies of televised sports events, religious broadcasts, and educational programs ... and if the proprietors of those programs welcome the practice, the business of supplying the equipment that makes such copying feasible should not be stifled simply because the equipment is used by some individuals to make unauthorized reproductions of respondents' works....
Justice John Paul Stevens wanted to go further with his opinion but risked alienating members of his 5-4 majority. Stevens wanted to rule that any copying for personal use does not constitute copyright infringement.

More recently, in MGM Studios, Inc. vs. Grokster, Ltd. (2005), the Supreme Court ruled against file-sharing companies but only if the company promotes illegal activity:
We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.
The MGM ruling does not overturn the 1984 Sony case. Companies that create a product that can be used for legitimate purposes and do not promote the illegitimate purposes are still protected under the Sony case.

RealNetworks, Inc. promotes its RealDVD software for home users to back-up legally acquired DVDs to a personal computer.
U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ignored these Supreme Court opinions in ruling:
RealDVD products are designed primarily for circumvention of [anti-piracy] technology. This unauthorized access infringes the Studios' rights because it entails accessing content without the authority of the copyright owner.
Patel is the same judge who ruled against Napster in 2001.

Posted by Eleutherian

Submit to Reddit
Submit to Reddit
Digg This Post
This Post
Stumble This Post
Stumble This Post
Reading: Court Extends Copyright Protection to Destroy Legitimate BusinessTweet This
This Post
Add To Delicious
Add to Del.icio.us
Fave on Technorati
Fave on Technorati


Post a Comment