Experts discuss music piracy

The question of whether industry associations should be able to stop people from trading music through the Web was discussed Feb. 5 at the 2005 Intellectual Property Symposium.

“It was really entertaining,” said Jay Knight, the editor-in-chief for the Northern Kentucky Law Review. “This isn’t always the raciest subject, but students should care about this because on Nov. 10, that IT letter (about file sharing) was sent out to students.”

Knight thought the symposium was timely because of the recent Supreme Court decision to hear MGM v. Grokster, which is a similar case. Knight thinks the MGM v. Grokster case will show media how these cases will be looked at from here on out.

“There is also the Induce Act, which was proposed legislature in Congress last year and re-proposed this year. It will make individuals and companies liable,” Knight said.

The Induce Act, if passed, will make it illegal to encourage copyright infringement and could mean the end of companies such as Grokster and Napster.

Knight felt like the symposium went well.

“It put Chase and NKU in a good light and showed the academic community that we can put on a timely symposium,” he said.

Davida Isaacs, assistant professor of law at NKU, was one of the speakers at the symposium.

Isaacs explained that secondary copyright infringement is “a basis for liability against companies that provide the method of transmission for swapping files.”

“There needs to be a great deal more discussion on this issue,” Isaacs said.

“There’s a strong argument on the side of the companies, and their discussion tends to hold more weight.”

However, not all cases are like that, Isaacs said. “The Grokster case is a rare instance in which the interest of the public are well funded and represented,” he said.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of MGM states, “The activity at issue in this case fundamentally involves the reproduction of original works. When a work is downloaded without the authority of the copyright owner or of law, the resulting copy infringes the exclusive right of reproduction.”

MGM’s argument is basically that “Because copyright law ultimately serves the purpose of enriching the general public through access to creative works, it is peculiarly important that the boundaries of copyright law be demarcated as clearly as possible,” according to the lawsuit.

The court date for the case is March 6.