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March 29, 2005

Foiled Again! MGM v. Grokster

Just 15 minutes ago, the Supreme Court started arguments in MGM v. Grokster. You will note, based on the fact that I am posting right now, that I am not observing the arguments this morning. I got to the Court last night around midnight, but there were already over 50 people in line. From what I saw when I went to Van Orden v. Perry and Eldred v. Ashcroft, I was fairly certain that no more than the bare minimum number of people would be able to get in. I would have been around 55 from what I could gather. Even as I stood there talking to people near the end of the line and handing out cookies, I overheard rumblings about the actual number of people in line being higher than the number present because of people saving spots. I wasn't interested in fighting over whether or not I would the eighth person denied or the ninth. Being the first person to not get in once was enough for me.

A lot of the people there for Grokster won't be staying for Brand X Internet Services, which is also a fascinating and important case. Hoewever, I thought a good night's sleep would also be fascinating and important, so I didn't sit outside all night to get in just for Brand X. It's a hell of a double feature for those who did get in, though.

Grokster is a far more significant case than Eldred and the legal argument against holding Grokster and StreamCast liable for contributory or vicarious copyright infringment is much stronger than Eldred's was. (This makes sense, given that Grokster prevailed in the lower courts, where Eldred was lucky to have picked up one vote in the D.C. Circuit.)

So no USSC coverage from me today. Next on the JuBu Supreme Court docket, Merck v. Integra on April 20. It's big stuff for patent folks, but not as sexy as Grokster, so I don't anticipate people camping out the previous afternoon.

Note: I got into the 10 Commandments cases, but not into either of the two copyright cases I tried to attend. From this, I can only conclude that copyright is more important than God.

Posted by buddha at March 29, 2005 10:15 AM

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