What the hell has got into the librarians lately? They raised such a stink about the library records portion of the Patriot Act that Ashcroft had to break down and agree to make the records public. And they still told him to screw himself with an extended Dewey decimal.
Now, feeling feisty and full of their oats, the librarians, alongwith the ACLU, are going after the RIAA and the MPAA in the Grokster suit, filing an amicus brief in favor of keeping P2P systems open:
- In a hotly contested lawsuit before a federal appeals court, two peer-to-peer companies are about to gain a vast army of allies: America’s librarians.
The five major U.S. library associations are planning to file a legal brief Friday siding with Streamcast Networks and Grokster in the California suit, brought by the major record labels and Hollywood studios. The development could complicate the Recording Industry Association of America’s efforts to portray file-swapping services as rife with spam and illegal pornography.
….A central argument of the brief is that the district court got it right when applying a 1984 Supreme Court decision to the Internet. That decision, Sony v. Universal City, said Sony could continue to manufacture its Betamax VCR because a company “cannot be a contributory (copyright) infringer if, as is true in this case, it has had no direct involvement with any infringing activity.”
“The amicus brief will make the point that we are not supporting the wrongful sharing of copyrighted materials,” ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels wrote in an internal e-mail seen by CNET News.com. An amicus brief is one filed by a third, uninvolved party that comments on a particular matter of law. “Instead, we believe the Supreme Court ruled correctly in the Sony/Betamax case. The court in that case created fair and practical rules which, if overturned, would as a practical matter give the entertainment industry a veto power over the development of innovative products and services.”
….The ACLU said Thursday that the brief argues that peer-to-peer networks are speech-promoting technologies that have many noninfringing uses. If the MPAA and the RIAA succeed in shutting down peer-to-peer networks or making them more centralized, the precedent could create undesirable choke points that could be used to monitor Internet users, the ACLU said. [CNET]
I wouldn’t want the librarians lined up against me: they read books and are smart and stuff.