Everybody’s quoting the end of the opinion, where the court talks about the “quicksilver” nature of technological innovation and how courts shouldn’t step in and mess things up. But I think the more important point is made at the beginning:
From the advent of the player piano, every new means of reproducing sound has struck a dissonant chord with musical
copyright owners, often resulting in federal litigation. This appeal is the latest reprise of that recurring conflict, and one of a continuing series of lawsuits between the recording industry and distributors of file-sharing computer software.
This isn’t a fight that started with Napster, and this isn’t a fight that ends with Grokster. The conflict between the tech industry’s desire for progress and the content industry’s desire for stability is over a hundred years old; a lawsuit attempting to pin liability on the maker of a new dissemination technology is just another recurring trope. The innovators always win in the end, and the content industry always adapts.
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