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File Sharing at the Highest Court

Reported by Ellen - March 28, 2005

Today on Stuido B with Shepard Smith, the stories were the usual fluff and very bland.

One story that seemed to grab the attention of Shepard Smith was the 'file sharing' case that is now being heard at the Supreme Court level. The question is - should 'file sharing' companies be held responsible for people downloading it? MGM vs. Grokster. The case is -- Should companies that make file-sharing software packages be held liable if their users violate copyrights?

Smith seemed worried that if the software company loses to the big music company that this could ultimately affect your personal e mail. Smith spoke with Molly Henneberg, out of Washington, regarding this, as he called it, 'landmark' case. They both remarked that the defense being used was the Beta Max ruling of 1984 that the court ruled 5 - 4 that Sony could not be held liable for people 'taping' movies on the Beta Max.

To put it into Smith's words, 'When are they going to just shut up and leave us alone.' Shepard wanted to know where the line was drawn and if his e mail could be searched. Former Federal prosecutor, Lis Wiehl said that it was possible if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of MGM.
She also went on to say that the software companies position was the same as the 'gun companies'. That it's not the 'software' (gun) that is committing the crime, it's the individual person who does the downloading (shooting).

Comment: The Supreme Court will hear this case tomorrow, it could be months before a decision is made. Smith took the stance that what is on his personal e mail is no one's business but his own, while the legal analyst, Lis Wiehl said this very thing (accessing someone's personal e mail) could happen depending on how the Supreme Court rules. Instead of going after the software companies, they could go after the individual who 'downloads' the material.

Is this a case of personal privacy on the internet? Or should the government be able to 'see' what you have downloaded? We report, you decide.

Reported by: Donna

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