The post-grokster world takes shape
Right after the Grokster decision everyone had an interpretations as to what would happen in the post-grokster world. Now, a few months after the decision we can see how this picture will shape up:
- WinMX shut down and is moving operations to Vanuatu. Unlike Kazaa, it sounds like the whole team is actually moving to the tiny island. Kazaa's trick of doing business from .au only threw the RIAA/MPAA off for a little while. How long will it take before these guys get taken down?
- eDonkey shuts down: Citing that the business cannot defend itself from an onslaught of lawsuits, the CEO tells congress that he is shutting down operations.
- LimeWire will start filtering copyrighted works: We know from the Napster case how well that works. Some works will get through, lawsuits will be filed and eventually LimeWire will buckle and go out of business.
The supreme court may as well have said: "P2P systems are flat out illegal." This is essentially the effect that we're seeing, a few months on. The reality is that P2P will live on, mostly in open source projects and from companies that are not based in the US. The aspect of the Grokster decision that will take some time play itself out is if it will have chilling effects like the DMCA does -- once people start suing each other over intent, we'll really see the true chilling effects of the Grokster decision. I just hope that won't happen, but I'm not sure if I can be that optimistic.
Also, the WinMX case underscores a trend I've touched on before: Stupid laws in the US cause companies to flee (or avoid) the US in the first place. I'm curious as to how the history books will paint the decline of the US and whether laws like this will ever make the radar.
The only product (company?) that is bucking the trend is BitTorrent, which apparently has taken on $8.75M in venture capital (it is starting to feel like 1999 again, itsn't it?). Given the current trend, this makes no sense whatsoever. Hollywood hates BitTorrent and couldn't do anything against it because it was pointless to sue Brahm, since he has no money. Putting a wad of cash into his pocket will only make it/him a viable target for the MPAA. How exactly would the new BitTorrent company go about proving all of its intentions were pure and noble? Maybe the MPAA will file a lawsuit, just to see what would happen. God knows they have enough cash to throw around.
UPDATE: I just found out that eDonkey is not shutting down -- they are attempting to comply with the RIAA after receiving a cease and desist letter.
Posted by Mayhem at September 29, 2005 03:05 PM