Salon on Grokster

Music rules

The case before the Supreme Court does not pertain to whether the actual act of file sharing is illegal. Let’s accept for now that when you or I grab a copy of the newest Aimee Mann track from Kazaa or LimeWire, we are committing intellectual-property piracy, stealing royalties from starving artists, and threatening the entire economic basis of the music industry. Personally, I enjoy supporting the artists I like by purchasing their records on iTunes, and I especially savor doing so after I have heard a free sample of their music over the Net. But that’s an entirely separate issue from what’s at stake in this case. MGM vs. Grokster deals with whether the creators of a technology are responsible for how it used. It’s not an understatement to say that the case could influence the future of the Internet.