On music sharing

THE US Supreme Court’s decision on online filesharing will have far reaching ramifications for music industry and all those who love to share what they enjoy. On Monday, the court ruled unanimously against two of the main companies that facilitate online exchange of music, films and other stuff.

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Published: Thu 30 Jun 2005, 10:22 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:46 PM

The ruling in Grokster vs MGM overturned previous judgments in lower courts leading to fears that filesharing could soon be a thing of the past.

While the US court’s contention that Grokster and codefendant StreamCast were not only aiding illegal downloads but were making money from downloads is right, stopping the filesharing altogether would be hard on those who enjoy good music and love to share it with others. If services of companies like Grokster and StreamCast are being misused by some, steps should be taken to prevent the misuse instead of completely switching off the online sharing.

The US authorities cannot really prevent the abuse of music sharing software by cracking down on web players like Grokster. For if prevented from offering online exchange of music, they would re-invent themselves to surface in a new avatar elsewhere a la Napster. Perhaps some new safeguards and guidelines could ensure that the concept of filesharing is not abused by users or companies. For banning filesharing is now hardly possible. It would be like forcing the genie back into the bottle.

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