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Supreme Court hears arguments in Grokster P2P case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday morning in MGM Studios v. Grokster [case backgrounder from Duke Law School], 04-480, a case questioning when technology providers can be held secondarily liable for copyright infringement. During the one-hour hearing, the justices appeared critical of both the entertainment industry's proposed liability rule and the file-swapping companies' business model. In criticizing P2P software companies such as Grokster, Justice Antonin Scalia said, "What you are suggesting is unlawful expropriation of property as a kind of start-up capital. From an economic standpoint and legal standpoint, that sounds wrong." Justice David Souter expressed concerns about shutting down innovation, and discussed the potential plight of "the guy in the garage," as Souter put it. The high visibility of the case drew scores of protesters to the Court for Tuesday's arguments. Supporters of file sharing carried signs proclaiming "Save Betamax" and "RIAA keep your hands off my iPod." Meanwhile, a group singer-songwriters from Nashville carried guitars and signs reading "Feed a musician. Download legally." CNET has more.

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