Feeds

RIAA puts developers in the dock

LimeWire sued

Security for virtualized datacentres

First they came for the networks, then they came for the developers.

Hoping to take advantage of last year's open-ended Supreme Court ruling on P2P software, the RIAA has filed suit against the two programmers behind the open source LimeWire project.

The suit, filed in a New York District court, accuses CEO Mark Gorton and Greg Bildson of LimeWire LLC of exerting "substantial influence" over the software project, accusing the two of inducement to infringe copyright, contributory copyright infringement, and common law copyright infringement.

The suit was filed on behalf of the Big Four labels, Universal, Warner, EMI and Sony BMG.

The first of these three charges is where the case breaks new ground.

As we reported at the time, when the Supreme Court heard the MGM vs Grokster case last year, it decided to punt the issue back down to the lower courts for settlement. The Supremes had no appetite, as they did in 1982 when they rejected the MPAA's attempts to ban the then-new VCR, to set a precedent. In Sony, the Supremes ruled that if a technology had substantial non-infringing uses, its sale should not be inhibited.

Last year the Supremes left Sony intact, but suggested that while an infringing technology was lawful, the company creating it, distributing it or profiting from it shared some moral responsibility for infringement. It rejected the common call, often raised in copyright cases involving new technology, that "guns don't kill people - people kill people".

The result was a flurry of litigation against the commercial P2P networks, with seven being targeted. Grokster went legit, eDonkey and WinMX rapidly shut up shop, Kazaa resisted only a little longer.

But the Supremes' subtle, and consciously open-ended ruling, confused many reporters at the time - and continues to do so today.

While the LimeWire network and the individuals responsible for operating it are vulnerable, open source software is a tougher nut to crack, and much of the development work for LimeWire is contributed by third-parties.

Which leads us back to where we started, really. This, the first case against distributors of an "infringement inducing" piece of software, does raise a further, fascinating question. At what point does "distributing" a piece of software begin? At the source code repository itself? ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.