2pnet.net News View:- The RIAA won the final and decisive victory they have been seeking for the last six years.
What started with Napster in 1999 ended this week with a judge who ironically enough once had the temerity to stand up to them by shutting them down.
After the US Supreme court re-started this case it landed back in his court where a now safely reined in Judge Wilson unfortunately ruled that yes, the evidence is overwhelming: Streamcast induced users to violate copyright and is therefore liable for “damages.” I put damages in quotes because there aren`t any real ones. The only proven effect file-sharing has had on sales has been to improve them, but we all know this has never been about fairness or even logic. It is instead about destroying people`s free access to information by concentrating it in one centralized nexus among one very powerful group. This they have done well. With fines of $150,000 per occurrence I`m not sure the gross domestic product of the entire world is ! enough to cover these “damages,” so we`ve seen the end of Morpheus, and in all probability the end of every company that operated like Streamcast.
As destructive a ruling as this is for America, it is not the end of peer-to-peer. We`ve been file-sharing all through every ruling good and bad, and as bad as it is now it has no practical effect on us.
As a matter of fact, in keeping with a basic premise stated above, the only real effect I can deduce from all these lop-sided court victories has been to make the community more powerful. Filesharing has improved. Let`s not kid ourselves, this is testament only to the hard work of developers and activists, not to the ferocious efforts of the courts, lawmakers and media.
The fact remains however that peer-to-peer has never been healthier, as it has simultaneously never been more hunted. It may be the nature of this new digital age but the harder they push the stronger we get, and we are very strong today.
On we go into this cyber world of sharing we have built. Where once we marveled at a new song in our folder we now see entire discographies. Where once we debated the merits of lossy codecs we now stack discs of perfect lossless clones.
Where once we thrilled to brief flickers of blocky video, we now transfer entire archives of pristine quality films. If against all evidence the RIAA this week claims victory in its efforts to halt our sharing then surely the true victory is the one that we, not they, have forged. Would that we could do this outside the cloud of civil disobedience? Yes. For now however, it is enough to savor for a moment this triumph we have earned.
Jack Spratts – p2p-zone
decisive victory - StreamCast is liable: court ruling, September 28, 2006