Copyright Infringement Or Innovation?

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

Music file-sharing is back in the news, as the case of MGM vs. Grokster is underway in the United States Supreme Court. It seems many entertainers want to keep their movies and songs off your computer.

It also seems the gist of this court battle is putting so many in Hollywood against millions of music and movie lovers worldwide.

"It's really easy. All you do is search it, and you have your song, " said Tania Cholokea, a University of Virginia Student.

It's that simple. A few clicks at the computer; and without walking into your local music store, the song is yours for free.

Right now, many of your favorite songs and movies are able to be downloaded through file-sharing. According to copyright laws it's illegal. Still, millions of people do it every day.

"It's just an easy way to have one song. If you want to listen to one song by not having to buy the whole CD, " said Cholokea.

Because of others just like Tania, entertainers are letting their voice be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court. Their complaint? Losing millions of dollars because of the software companies who allow it.

As protesters crowded outside the High Court, justices inside wondered where to draw the line between copyright infringement and innovation.

Justice Beyer said there's always been an issue since the invention of the copy machines and videocassettes recorder.

Justice Scalia wondered how this could affect future inventors.

"This is not a case about technology, it's about the abuse of technology," said a lawyer for the Recording Industry Association of America.

"It entitles the copyright owner to control what they create. It does not entitle them to control what others create," said a lawyer for Grokster.

Around Charlottesville, up and coming talents agree-- the freedom to download could bring something new to their business.

The Supreme Court decision is expected to come early in the summer; until then, copyright infringement will still be illegal. No matter what the high court decides, the ability to download will be there as well.

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