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Decentralized File-sharing Tools Ruled Legal

Streamcast and Grokster have won a major court decision in Los Angeles, shifting the tides of the on-line P2P legal war. Federal court Judge Stephen Wilson has dismissed much of the studios’ claims in their lawsuits against them, stating that Morpheus and Grokster were not liable for copyright infringements that took place using their software.

The ruling stated loud and clear that innovating decentralized peer-to-peer Gnutella-like software is perfectly legal, and shouldn’t be deemed illegal in the courts. The courts compared the technology with the innovation of the original Sony videocasette recorder (VCR).


Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated the case is far from over, but that the case sends a “strong message to the technology community that the court understands the risk to innovation” the case could represent.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) offered no comment, but are of course issuing an appeal to the ruling already.

The ruling does not affect the case against Kazaa that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have filed against them. The difference was ruled because “StreamCast now employs the “open” (i; e. , not proprietary) Gnutella technology, and distributes its own software – Morpheus – instead of a branded version of the Kazaa Media Desktop.”

Source: Winamp News

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