The Online World Post-Grokster


Seventy-two hours into the post-Grokster era and the actual ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court decision have yet to be determined. Consumer behavior didn’t shift despite the massive publicity — internet traffic analyst BigChampagne didn’t see a blip in P2P sharing, according to USA Today‘s Jeff Graham. USAT also charts vulnerability for various services.
One of the hottest unanswered questions: what happens to BitTorrent? It’s being described as a possible litmus test but the jury is out on whether or not creator Bram Cohen has induced anyone to share files illegally. Some hold Cohen up as the poster boy for developer purity; others are pointing to a mission statement he posted in 1999 as a possible litigation smoking gun. Cohen wrote then that “I build systems to disseminate information, commit digital piracy, synthesize drugs, maintain untrusted contacts…” but he says now it was meant as “a parody of a cypherpunk’s manifesto.” Mark Schultz, professor, Southern Illinois School of Law argues that it shouldn’t matter: “There is a difference between Bram Cohen and his company, BitTorrent, Inc., and BitTorrent the technology. The fate of BitTorrent as a technology should not depend on Bram Cohen’s intent in developing it.”
Ernest Miller continues to rock on the subject so if you want intense detail start here. Miller has a little fun with CNET Executive Editor Charles Cooper’s plea for Grokster to admit “just once” that its business is based on breaking the law. “Hey, Cooper, what do you think about a company that makes money (some of the most popular downloads on are P2P programs) from companies whose ‘business model is predicated on breaking the law’? Why don’t you say something about that?”

Comments are closed.