On Monday June 27, 2005 the Supreme Court ruled that Grokster and
Streamsoft, two free file download services, were operating
illegally because they were allegedly encouraging illegal
downloads of copyrighted material.
Encouraging it...that was what the Supreme Court said. These
were free services that were encouraging illegal activity.
Would this have happened if they had had paying customers? In
other words, would a paid file download service be better than a
free download service?
I think so, and here's my reasoning why...
If you consider that every dollar paid is like a vote, then it
becomes clear the paid file downloading services are much more
accountable than free file downloading services.
If you follow my metaphor so far, then you may see how a paid
file download service is like an elected official, and a free
file download service is like a dictator.
Here's how they differ:
1. If an elected official doesn't get enough votes, the elected
official doesn't get re-elected and is "out of there".
2. A dictator doesn't care about votes. A dictator does
whatever they want. And, if you get hurt by what they do....
well, it's YOUR problem.
Basically, it's all about accountability.
A legitimate business has to make money to survive. If a
business hurts people, customers will stop buying from that
business and go elsewhere. And, if people stop buying from that
business, then that business is "out of there" (just like the
elected official which loses votes).
But a free file sharing service can "do what it wants", just like
a dictator, and if they even go to the level of encouraging you
to do things that are illegal, even lying to you by telling you
that it's perfectly legal... well it's no skin off their nose.
It's your problem!
Or so they thought...up to now.
For the first time, the Supreme Court has made these shady liars
legally responsible for their bad behavior.
They got away with it in the past by "advising" people to do
things that were potentially illegal. They rationalized it by
saying "Hey, we aren't the ones actually doing it, so we
shouldn't be held responsible."
But the Supreme Court has finally cleared this up. They are
responsible, and can now be sued for their actions. Even if they
did it for "FREE".
"FREE"... that was the draw that got so many innocent kids
downloading songs, videos, movies, games, etc. illegally without
knowing it. The "FREE" file downloading services were just
exploiting these kids' ignorance.
Paid download services can't afford this kind of behavior. They
look at this as a business. If they start getting their
customers in trouble, word gets around pretty fast on the
internet, and their business will become toast!
Think of this like NetFlix, who doesn't sell download services,
but sends out CDs and DVDs through the mail. What would happen
to them if they "encouraged" purchasing illegally copied movies
or music from them? Yeah you got it... toast!
But the "FREE" file sharing services that are encouraging kids to
do this thought they could get away with this indefinitely
because "they weren't making any money off of it, and after all,
they weren't the actual people doing the downloading."
Nice legal trickery... good thing it won't work anymore!
So... the question still begging to be asked is:
"Are paid file download services better than free file download
I'll let you take it from here... ;^)
About the author:
Drew Straub invites you check out his new site which he built to
help people find the best reviews on MP3 players and the best
paid membership services to use to find the music, videos,
movies, and games you want legally at: http://mp3.wowshoppe.com
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