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Maverick man Cuban explains Hollywood disgust

It's a morality thing

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Hollywood vs P2P Mark Cuban - the eccentric but rich owner of the Dallas Mavericks - received a disgusting but deserved amount of press for saying he would fund P2P firm Grokster's Supreme Court defense against Hollywood. But since the non-profit EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) was representing Grokster for free, we couldn't help but wonder exactly what Cuban is funding. Hotel rooms? Shoe shines? Rum floats? And how much would all this cost?

"Can't and won't say," Cuban told The Register via e-mail.

An EFF spokeswoman was more forthcoming, saying Cuban purchased the legal services of "Supreme Court specialist" Richard Taranto, who has argued before the high court 19 times. Taranto pleaded Grokster's case in front of the Supremes on Tuesday.

With that matter resolved, we bring you Five Minutes with Cuban on the P2P versus Hollywood affair. The techie entrepreneur has been a very vocal backer of P2P technology and protecting innovation. Cuban's outspoken ways make him a rare bird among the tech elite.

Reg: Does you financial help for Grokster cover any past costs?

MC: No, it's only for the Supreme Court work. The money is paid to the EFF. I have no relationship with Grokster. Have never even used their products.

Reg: If the case gets passed back down to a lower court, will you continue to fund the defense?

MC: Probably.

Reg: Would you fund the defense in a case that looked at whether or not Grokster was secondarily liable for the actions of its users, if Hollywood decides to go in that direction next?

MC: It would depend on the particulars. I would look hard at doing it.

Reg: How far are you willing to take your defense of Grokster?

MC: This is the technology equivalent of freedom of speech. The concept of giving the music industry veto power over new digital businesses is disgusting and revolting to me.

It's morally wrong to try to stop innovation to try to protect an industry that still can't prove it has lost a nickel from what it's trying to protect itself from.

Reg: Would you consider covering the settlement or legal costs of a P2P user sued by the RIAA or MPAA?

MC: No. I don't have a problem with the RIAA suing users. If people steal, they have to realize there is a price to pay. Theft is just as wrong as the RIAA stealing innovation from our country's future.

Reg: Have the music labels or movie studios contacted you about your stance?

MC: Yes. All in support....unofficially of course. ®

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