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Grokster Shutting Down? 302

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the evil-is-as-evil-does dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo news is reporting that Grokster is shutting down. In a settlement with Hollywood and the music industry Grokster will be permanently banned from 'participating directly or indirectly in the theft of copyrighted files and requires the company to stop giving away its software.'" A continuation on their deal with Mashboxx, or the end of grokster entirely?
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Grokster Shutting Down?

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  • Quite simply... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drgonzo59 (747139)
    This sucks!
  • by Wabbit Wabbit (828630) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:21PM (#13973292)
    Oh. Grokster.

    never mind.
    • That's really what I read at first too. I almost lost it.

      But Grokster... I could take it or leave it. I've never used it. The only suspicious thing is not being able to distribute their software anymore. There are far more dangerous things that are still allowed to be sold
  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:22PM (#13973298)
    or the end of grokster entirely?

    Regardless of if it's the end of the software, it's the end of the spirit.

  • by dptalia (804960) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:23PM (#13973312) Homepage Journal
    "There are plenty of services where you can download music and movies legally. This is not one of them." Yikes!
    • no kidding (Score:4, Insightful)

      by conJunk (779958) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:26PM (#13973358)
      "There are plenty of services where you can download music and movies legally. This is not one of them."

      It's one thing to shut them down. It's another thing entirely to require them to say something that sounds like a scolded child. I can't *prove* sounding like a scolded child was part of the deal, but i don't think i'm out of line assuming that that statement is less than 100% voluntary

      • Re:no kidding (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ScentCone (795499)
        I can't *prove* sounding like a scolded child was part of the deal, but i don't think i'm out of line assuming that that statement is less than 100% voluntary

        Pretty much like having people spread stolen screeners of your not-yet-released film to thousands or millions of best friends they've never met know isn't exactly 100% voluntary for the filmaker, either. I think that's the whole point.
    • So if they're claiming the service isn't legal, doesn't that make them guilty of perjury for claiming that it was? This seems to me like basically admitting that you lied under oath. They should have said, "This software isn't available anymore" without explaining why.

      Not that they're still needed; the gnutella design doesn't require a central server to operate, and lots of open-source alternatives exist.
  • Isn't that an oxymoron?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:24PM (#13973317)
    The article begins, "Grokster Ltd., a leading developer of Internet file-sharing software popular for stealing songs and movies online,"

    Uh, wait, I thought file-sharing technology was used for a variety of things. Yeah, it's mostly file-swapping of copyrighted material, but hardly the only use. According to the AP, let's just ignore the legal uses entirely and pretend that the whole purpose of this technology was to steal.

    • by Wavicle (181176) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:28PM (#13973382)
      IIRC, Grokster lost their case because they advertised themselves as a great way to get movies and music for free. Essentially marketing themselves as a conduit for copyright infringement. So much so that people were confused and actually believed they were downloading the stuff legally. (Don't start on how could someone think that, I won't argue the qualities of human ignorance.)

      There are plenty of good uses for P2P. Copyright infringement, while popular, is not a "good" use.
    • Yep (Score:2, Funny)

      by 42Penguins (861511)
      I, for one, use file-sharing software EXCLUSIVELY for Linux Distros and public domain E-Books...Yeah, right.
  • Temporary Victory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysqlrocks (783488) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:25PM (#13973336) Homepage Journal
    "This is a chapter that ends on a high note for the recording industry, the tech community and music fans and consumers everywhere," said Mitch Bainwol, head of the Recording Industry Association of America.

    This is a temporary victory only for the RIAA. They can't change the fact that their business model is becoming obsolete.
    • by goldspider (445116)
      "They can't change the fact that their business model is becoming obsolete."

      Their business model is only half of it. Freeloaders are the other half.
    • Re:Temporary Victory (Score:5, Informative)

      by supun (613105) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:32PM (#13973424)
      What do you mean? They get their share from services like iTunes, Napster, and the other legal music download services. Internet stations, like Radio Free Colorado, pay something like $0.07 a song. The RIAA gets their cut of that. So in fact, their business model is changing and not becoming obsolete.

      BTW: All those Pepsi adds where they look like they are anti-RIAA make me laugh, since the RIAA made cash from the legal music downloads.
  • by technoextreme (885694) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:25PM (#13973338)
    "This is a chapter that ends on a high note for the recording industry, the tech community and music fans and consumers everywhere," said Mitch Bainwol, head of the Recording Industry Association of America.

    Cue the almost unanimous outcry about how this guy is not speaking for us.
  • I'm curious... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by skelly33 (891182) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:25PM (#13973344)
    as to what other kinds of software might be construed as having a hand "directly, or indirectly" in piracy and is subject to being shut down? Apache HTTP server? Outlook Email? Mozilla Firefox? "The Internet"?

    It seems you just can't fight corporate giants with billion dollar legal power...
    • by op12 (830015)
      Actually, it's the power companies that are to blame. They are enabling piracy to occur. Piracy could obviously not happen if we didn't have power!
      • Could explain why Florida has such a low rate of copyright infringing downloads.

        Flicker, Pillage and Larceny^W^WFlorida Power and Light, doing thier part as ??AA whores.
  • Napster... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chickenofbristol55 (884806) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:26PM (#13973359) Homepage
    They'll probably be back, but you'll have to pay for the service.
    • Don't do something rash like RTFA and find out.
      A new fee-based version of its software, which will permit only legal downloads, will be available within 60 days from a new parent organization, according to one executive involved in the deal.
  • by Red Samurai (893134) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:28PM (#13973378)
    Grokster was never really that popular anyway. Anyway, they can shut down whatever network they want, and they can arrest anyone they want, but they'll never kill P2P off. As long as pirates exist, P2P will exist. It's a fact.
    • As long as pirates exist, P2P will exist.

      This is not entirely correct... As long as pirates exist, they will utilize some form of technology to carry out their piracy, but it is incorrect to say, as your statement implies, that it has always been and will always be P2P. P2P is just one of the current common methods. Who knows what new forms it might take in the future.

    • Grokster was the only decent legit client for fasttrack, which is still I think the most popular network, certainly used to be. I'm sad to see it go.
  • They will not Win (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:31PM (#13973415)
    Unfortunately for the movie and record industries P2P already exists. Killing the specific tools, in this case grokster, is not going to end the treats and the downloading. They are going to find that in the end they are going to have to give up against an overwhelming force that is too much for them. They have already killed, or at least neutered, Napster and now they got grokster but they still will face more, such as the current bittorrent and will face more in the future. As long as they do not provide what the clients want, and theft is not the main reason P2P exists, they are going to continue to face what they see as threats to their wellbeing
  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:32PM (#13973427) Homepage Journal
    http://www.grokster.com/ [grokster.com]

    The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed
    that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal.
    Copying copyrighted motion picture and music files
    using unauthorized peer-to-peer services is illegal and is
    prosecuted by copyright owners.

    There are legal services for downloading music and movies.
    This service is not one of them.

    Grokster hopes to have a safe and legal service available soon.

    If you are interested in that service, go to www.grokster3g.com, or send an email to:

    info@grokster3g.com

    to be included in the beta for the next generation.

    • The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal. Copying copyrighted motion picture and music files using unauthorized peer-to-peer services is illegal and is prosecuted by copyright owners.

      Well doh, that's been the case for the last 200 years or so and hasn't changed. What the Supreme court tok a 9-0 vote on was that offering a service that endorsed or promoted copyright infringement was illegal. That is a very nice way of saying that t
    • No match for "GROKSTER4G.COM" You know they'll want this one if a few months ;)
  • by srobert (4099) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:32PM (#13973429)
    Back in the mid-twentieth century, a company called Xerox was producing a machine which could be used to illegally copy copyrighted materials in books. The courts ruled that the company had to stop making and selling the illegal technology and pay damages to the publishers. At least that's how I remember it.
    • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:00PM (#13973730)
      Back in the mid-twentieth century, a company called Xerox was producing a machine which could be used to illegally copy copyrighted materials in books.

      Sarcasm is a more useful rhetorical device when the truth that it (directly or indirectly) points out resonates with the sarcastic statement being made. But since Xerox didn't ever position its products as a way to "get free stuff" or spread around copyrighted works by the millions, their equipment's use in copyright infringement was despite their corporate position and publicly proclaimed admonishments. The P2P services that have found themselves in trouble have been loudly supporting piracy since the get-go. Intent is the difference, and lack of it makes your example fall flat. Maybe more fun to allude to old-style forgeries, counterfeiters, or all those other classical (and already blatantly understood as illegal) methods to make your point. Um, except the point wouldn't mean as much.
    • If 99.99% of the usage for Xerox machines was copyright infringment I suspect they would have been quickly outlawed or restricted. In practice, the vast majority of use was for reproduction of legit material. Had 99.99% of the Grokster usage been legit, I think you would have seen a different outcome to all this.

      That's why the RIAA isn't going after FTP servers, HTTP servers, IM file transfer features, etc - those technologies were created for non-infringing uses and are predominantly used that way. Anyone
      • If 99.99% of the usage for Xerox machines was copyright infringment I suspect they would have been quickly outlawed or restricted.

        Well, go sit in a library and tell me what % there is in violation of copyrights. Yet, when the subject of libraries and such makes it to court, they are still protected and allowed to continue in their ways.
        • Most copying done in libraries is likely covered under fair use (small portions of the overall piece, being used for research, discussion, and critique). I doubt you'll see many people making page-for-page copies of "The Da Vinci Code" - why bother when you can just borrow the book for free?
          If comparing a library copy machine to Grokster is the best argument that can be made it's no wonder Grokster was shut down. People complain about the RIAA going after a "technology" (P2P) but the bottom line is that the
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:34PM (#13973459) Journal
    "Grokster Ltd., a leading developer of Internet file-sharing software popular for stealing songs and movies online, agreed Monday to shut down operations...
    ... bans Grokster from participating directly or indirectly in the theft of copyrighted files..."


    Righteous anger its-not-theft-there's-no-deprivation-of-property flamewar to begin in 3... 2... 1...

    Seriously, though, if you want a certain company's product, pay for it. If you wouldn't pay $0.01 for it, then why bother downloading it at all?

    And just to forestall the inevitable, NO, I DON'T WORK FOR THE RECORDING INDUSTRY. I just believe that if you don';t think a product is worth the price offered, then you shouldn't buy the product... nor should you look to the black market for the product. Do without, it won;t kill you. And by not pirating the product, you won't help drive the *AA's assertions that they are losing a ton of cash to piracy.
    • Well, the simple reason is that there is no option to pay $0.01, only some rediculous price.
    • Doesn't do any good. I buy the product, I have to live with increasingly onerous DRM that imposes artificial restrictions on what I can do with the product, and doesn't slow down infringers in the slightest.

      I don't buy the product, sales go down, and that's used to claim 'our sales have dropped - it must be pirates stealing it!' and they get laws which add even greater weight to DRM measures, thus making any products I do buy even more onerous to use.

      Just for once, I'd like a lobby that supports the custome
      • Some very good points, which I didn't address because they weren't in the scope of TFA or of my OP --

        (1) Ridiculous DRM

        Well, all this does is lower your perceived value of the product -- making you less likely to purchase it. It should lower everyone's perceived value of it, so maybe tons of people won't buy it.

        (2) Falling sales figures used to calculate piracy levels

        This is a huge problem. Hey, our sales are down -- it must be teh pirates! This is accounting that never should be allowed to fly.
      • sales have dropped - it must be pirates stealing it!

        And that claim (when it comes to products not selling, most likely because of poor quality in the first place), would indeed ring hollow if you couldn't immediately find hundreds or thousands of places "sharing" even the worst movies, all the time. It would be nice to say that they're BSing when it comes to the crappy movies, but the piracy is rampant on big (good) movies because lots of people don't feel like paying for their entertainment, and it's ra
        • "And that claim (when it comes to products not selling, most likely because of poor quality in the first place), would indeed ring hollow if you couldn't immediately find hundreds or thousands of places "sharing" even the worst movies, all the time."

          This doesn't really apply -- people willing to purchase for $0.00 != people willing to purchase for MSRP.

          "but the piracy is rampant on big (good) movies because lots of people don't feel like paying for their entertainment"

          This is where it is damaging to
    • [blockquote]Grokster Ltd., a leading developer of Internet file-sharing software popular for stealing songs and movies online, agreed Monday to shut down operations... ... bans Grokster from participating directly or indirectly in the theft of copyrighted files..."

      Nope, Grokster is a popular program for sharing not just movis and music, but software and documents as well as games, some legal, some not... and the flap is over copyright infringement... not theft... copyright infringement..... how many times m

    • by orasio (188021) on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:04PM (#13973762) Homepage
      It's not stealing, just because it's not stealing.

      Suppose you had a girlfriend (just for the sake of the argument). If someone looks at your girlfriend in a weird way, you cant say it's a rapist. You can make all analogies you want, and say that the guy has X-ray goggles, but some guy who looks at your girlfriend is not f**kin your girlfriend. You can even say that you want him to pay, because she is a stripper, and charges for people looking at her tits, and he is causing you lost revenue.

      This is much the same. People who copy songs or movies are not doing anything that they could go to jail for. It's a civil issue. They risk being sued. They are not thieves. They are copyright infringers. It's just another thing, and calling one thing with the name of another thing is not healthy, specially for legal stuff. It ends up contaminating the original concepts. The whole idea of copyright infringement not being theft is that copyright is not something sacred, it's just a "temporary" government granted monopoly, and by infringing that monopoly you might or might not hurt the guy that the monopoly was assigned to, so it's his decission to sue you or not.
    • If you wouldn't pay $0.01 for it, then why bother downloading it at all?

      I would pay $0.01 for it. But nowhere's willing to sell it to me for less than 1GPB.

  • by putko (753330) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:35PM (#13973467) Homepage Journal
    The article says "BitTorrent" is a service.

    Is this true? I thought it was a file transfer protocol.

    • Well, its a client and a protocol. But if everyone was to drop using the client that you get from the official Bitorrent site, then it would just be a protocol. And if Bitorrent does gets sued for having its client, and they shutdown, it wont shutdown the network that it has created since there are a bunch of clients out there. Like FastTrack protocol has Kazaa, Imesh, and Grobster clients on it.
    • Protocols and services are pretty much the same thing as far as the internet's concerned.
  • Color me late (Score:3, Insightful)

    by multiplexo (27356) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:36PM (#13973471) Journal
    to the BitTorrent game but after installing BT this weekend and downloading SuSE 10 (yes it took 12 hours, but I started it before I went to bed and had the ISO images the next day) it seems to me that decentralized P2P was going to be the wave of the future even if MGM v. Grokster hadn't gone the way it had.

    Of course given the stupidity and greed of the **AAs it would not surprise me to see them attempt to crush BT either by going after Bram Cohen or by having their bought and paid for congresscritters write an exceptionally broad addendum to the DMCA that would ban any development or distribution of P2P software. Of course the inevitable consequences of such a ban will be disastrous, but they'll take several election cycles to materialize, which is far beyond the horizon of the aforementioned congresscritters.

  • Dead (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Netcraft confirms it. Grokster is dead.
  • Timeline: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:44PM (#13973555)
    1990: We'll add passwords for computer games. Piracy "stopped."
    1995: We'll copy-protect audio CDs. Piracy "stopped."
    1997: We'll copy-protect DVDs. Piracy "stopped."
    2001: We'll shut Napster down. Piracy "stopped."
    2002: We'll shut Kazaa down. Piracy "stopped."
    2005: We'll shut Grokster down. Piracy...
    • So the industry should just give up? The moment that happens is the moment they stop selling anything at all, and then what will people pirate? You can say all you want about the RIAA and MPAA not putting out anything worth listening to or watching, but that very same stuff seems to be incredibly popular on the filesharing networks, so someone seems to be enjoying it.

      Opensource software is popular because its so widespread, and thats because it has such a low cost of entry for a programmer. Vi, a comp
      • I think its more of a

        "ooo...i got quake 18 yesterday and it doesn't even come out till next week."
        "can i have a copy?"
        "sure, but it sucks, its just like quake 1-17, I already tried it for an hour and quit from boredom and deleted it"

      • Re:Timeline: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189)
        There are tens of thousands of musicians talented enough to produce professional music.

        Only the lock on distribution channels prevents them from becoming popular.

        And that is what this is really all about.

        Support alternate music by going to places like "Magnatune.com" where the music is worth what you decide to pay for it and the artists get 50% of the what you pay... not 10% (itune) or 0% (most music contracts actually leave many musicians deeper in debt after a successful album due to funny accounting prac
  • by bartash (93498) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:55PM (#13973665)
    Here is the Grokster story from the NYT [nytimes.com].
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:57PM (#13973684) Journal
    New York City - The Mafia has promised not to dip people in concrete and dump them into the Hudson River. In an agreement with FBI and Rudolf Giulani's ego, the Mafia has agreed that it will cease and desist this practice, regarded by some (particularly victims) as being somewhat barbaric, and usually quite illegal. "Da FBI came down on us and says 'Looks Fat Tony, we's getting tired of all da pollution. Peoples gotta drink dis water, ya know what I mean?'" said Fat Tony Lucchese.
  • Lets see, some of their users get involved with 'pirating' but its Grokster's fault and they get 'punished'?

    So does that mean i can sue Ford because some moron hit me while driving a mercury?

    Oh, and wasnt some of the 'offenders' using Grokster improperly using Windows? Then Microsoft is at fault too.

    This is insane.
    • Only if Ford marketed them as "Hit and run-mobiles"
  • by jhsewell (620291) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:58PM (#13973703)
    The University of Richmond's IP Institute web site has more information and links on this story.

    http://ipinstitute.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

  • Analogy with guns? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Lessee, the guns themselves are just tools, they can be used properly or they can be used improperly. Without knowing the relative proportion of usage of guns in both cases I would state without proof that the latter isnt a miniscule minority.

    I believe replacing "guns" with "file sharing apps" wouldnt make the statements above invalid.

    So the way I see it, the only real difference is guns have a huge corrupt lobby group FOR it, while file sharing apps have a huge corrupt lobby group AGAINST it. Ethically/mor
  • ... for freedom of speech.

    Because, if ONLY "authentic licensed" works can be traded, what stops a government to decide if a particular file (i.e. controversial news of some chinese blogger text) is "illegal"?

    Unregulated file sharing networks must keep existing. Let the RIAA sue users if they want, but DONT touch freedom of speech.
    • It's the content creator, or whomever else holds the rights. This usually isn't the government.

      ** If memory serves, there has been at least one case in which a local government group copyrighted a code of regulations and prevented the free redistribution thereof. This does strike me as extremely perverse, but more of an abuse by government workers than a flaw in the concept of copyrights, since it's far more of a problem to switch governments than it is to choose a different book to read or movie to watch
  • by Ryan C. (159039) on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:52PM (#13974342)
    Whenever replying to someone who uses "theft" when they mean "copyright infingement", just reply substituting the word "murder" since that makes about as much sense. Don't explain, wait for them to ask why you're using that term.

    e.g.

    Only a small percentage of Grokster's customer base were not murdering music files, that's why they got shut down. I agree that murder of artist's music should not be allowed.

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