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Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Showdown Looms for P2P Networks

A group of technology trade groups, consumer advocates, and lawyers have filed more than 20 briefs in support of peer-to-peer software vendors facing a U.S. Supreme Court showdown with the movie industry later this month.

Groups filing briefs in support of Grokster and Morpheus distributor StreamCast Networks argued that the movie industry's attempts to use courts to shut down the two P-to-P vendors would stop innovative new technologies from being introduced in the United States. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the MGM versus Grokster case on March 29.

The entertainment industry attempted to stall several technologies, including the VCR, the copying machine, and tape recorders, as they became available, but in the end found ways to make money from those technologies, said participants in a press conference organized by digital rights advocacy group Public Knowledge. The case could affect the "entire American technology sector," said Fred von Lohmann, senor staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil rights group.

"The question really boils down to, will America's technology companies be hiring more engineers, or will they be firing engineers and hiring lawyers instead?" von Lohmann said.

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