Those Pesky File Sharers

The New York Times: Grokster, a developer of file-swapping software used to trade copyrighted music and movie files, said Monday that it would halt distribution of the software and cut off support for its associated network as part of a landmark settlement with the recording industry and Hollywood studios.
The pact comes four months after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Grokster could be held liable for copyright infringement by users of its software, a decision that delivered a decisive victory for entertainment companies, particularly music labels, which have blamed widespread digital piracy for a worldwide slump in sales.
While Grokster is disappearing in its original form, the underlying case that culminated in the Supreme Court showdown may continue. Grokster’s co-defendant in the case, Streamcast Networks, the promoter of a file-sharing network known as Morpheus, has indicated it plans to keep battling the movie studios and record labels in court.
More broadly, the popularity of file-sharing networks shows little sign of waning in the wake of the settlement or the earlier court decision. An estimated 9.2 million people are using various so-called peer-to-peer networks at any one time, according to BigChampagne, a data service. The figure has edged up from 8.8 million in June.
With Monday’s settlement, “I don’t think, practically speaking, we’re expecting to see much impact in the peer-to-peer landscape,” said Eric Garland, BigChampagne’s chief executive. “People moved on from tools like Grokster some time ago.”
Grokster is expected to be absorbed by Mashboxx, a new venture run by Wayne Rosso, a former Grokster president, who has already struck a deal to license music from Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the world’s second-biggest music company.
Consumers who have already downloaded the Grokster software can still use it to trade files, though they risk being sued.
[UPDATE] Random Culture has a great piece today on Adobe’s attempt to thwart file sharing.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.