Grockster ruling.

June 28, 2005

I’ve been trying to decide just what to say about the Grokster ruling, but I’ve been at a loss for words. Over the long haul, it’s pretty clear that this isn’t going to fix the RIAA or MPAA’s obsolete business models. Over the short haul, however, the chilling effect that this could have on technology is massive.

Mark Cuban thinks that the litigation environment is going to become extreme, and that the only people who are going to actually make money on all of this are the lawyers and the lobbyists.

With the Grokster ruling, going forward, just how onerous will the protection language be for purchases of, or investments in digital technology ? Will it be enough for the target company to promise that they complied ?

Or, will contract appendixes have copies of all marketing materials as confirmation that the target company never induced anyone to infringe on a copyright ? What about emails sent to prospects and customers ? Will we have to save them all to confirm what we did or didnt suggest when marketing and promoting the technology ?

Is this the start of a “Sarbanes Oxley” type environment for technology companies ? Will companies have to save and document everything they do in the marketing and promoting of their technologies ? Will they, or rather, should they video all presentations and record all phone calls ?

How else can we know that we are protected against unwarranted law suits that are used as competitive weapons to slow new technologies ?

Ultimately, this can’t last (he says hopefully), but I think it’s clear that at least for now, the groundhog has seen his shadow and we’re going to be putting up with this miserable situation for a good while yet…