Hundreds of mostly young people gathered on the Supreme Court steps in support of the file-sharing companies, chanting and carrying signs. Some camped out overnight to attend the oral arguments.
Supreme Court precedent dates back to a 1984 ruling that Sony Corp. could not be held liable if consumers used the company's Betamax tape machines to illegally copy movies. Most of the comments I've read indicate the Justices have a healthy respect for innovation and entreprenuerism, and it will be hard to convince them to make file sharing networks legally liable for the frenzy of P2P movie and audio file sharing that goes on (most of which is, of course, not legal).
Justice Antonin Scalia wondered whether innovators would be punished immediately after creating a new product if the entertainment industry had a legal veto. "If I started a business now, how do I know how to proceed?" he asked. "If I'm a new inventor, I'm going to get sued right away."
"There's never the intent to break the law when the guy is in the garage inventing the iPod," added Justice David Souter.
Besides the lawsuits, the entertainment industry has deliberately polluted file-sharing networks with poor-quality copies of songs and falsely named files, among other tactics, to frustrate Internet thieves.
Well kudos to you, Mr and Mrs Supreme Court Justices! Got yer heads screwed on right about more than one thing, including letting people die in peace without the fewkin' Government getting into the act!
On a side note, I heard on the radio this morning that a secret 1943 psychological profile of Adolf Hitler done during World War II just turned up in the archives at Cornell University. Among other things, the profile said that he:
- Could Not accept criticism
- Enjoyed bullying people
- Craved Attention >
- And if he lost the War, he'd probably kill himself.
They've put it online, if you are interested.