PFF Releases Transcript of July 8th Congressional Seminar
WASHINGTON D.C. - The announcement of the long awaited Grokster decision, applauded by both sides of the dispute, led many to wonder what lies ahead for copyright policy. This question was fully explored at a July 8th Congressional Seminar hosted by The Progress & Freedom Foundation. PFF is releasing a transcript of the event "MGM v. Grokster: What's Next?" in order to provide Congress and other interested parties with an array of views in the P2P debate.
The panel, moderated by James V. DeLong, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for the Study of Digital Property (IPcentral) at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, featured representatives from technology companies, content owners, and public interest organizations. Participants included Cary Sherman, President and General Counsel of the Recording Industry Association of America; Gigi Sohn, President of Public Knowledge; Sarah Deutsch, Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Verizon Communications; and James Burger, Partner from the firm Dow, Lohnes & Albertson.
To start the discussion, DeLong gave a basic summary of the Grokster ruling, stating that the Supreme Court successfully balanced the interests of the content providers and the technology industry by "adopting a variation of the 'inducement' doctrine," while asserting that there must be an active effort to promote copyright infringement. DeLong also praised the Court for focusing on the behavior, as opposed to focusing on the technology, used to violate copyrights.
Sherman applauded three unanimous declarations that resulted from the Grokster decision -- downloading unauthorized content is illegal, a party can be held liable if a business model is based on promoting illegal conduct, and related law requires a balance between copyright protection and the promotion of innovation. He also noted that the market is already responding to the news that property rights will be protected, with legitimate downloading services now willing to invest and cut deals. Sohn identified the Grokster ruling as the latest of a long series of legal victories for the content industry, which she said now has all of the tools needed to stop copyright infringement and should not demand further action by Congress or the Administration. Deutsch echoed DeLong's views on the balance struck by the Court in its decision, which favored neither the content nor the tech industries while praising the court for rejecting the use of strict liability standards and "quantitative tests". Finally, Burger expressed one way that illegal downloading could be reduced without litigation -- by encouraging growth of the legal filesharing market. Complete statements from the panelists and questions from attendees can be found in the event transcript.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.