Lessig on NYTimes Editorial in MGM v. Grokster CasePosted: March 29, 2005
I tend to agree and disagree at the same time. On one hand, I am firmly in the camp that content creators have the right for their intellectual property to be protected and for them to be compensated for their work. However, I think in the particular case of Grokster, who is merely creating the forum for people to do the copyright infringement, I don’t see how they can be held liable. They have no ability to control the content which is shared on their network. The content creators are prosecuting the wrong parties because it’s easier to go after one entity than thousands.
I mostly take issue with the NY Times saying that the Constitution establishes copyright. It doesn’t, at least not by name. The NY Times says “The founders wrote copyright protections into the Constitution because they believed that they were necessary for progress.” However, the clause of the Constitution which establishes the ability for Congress to create laws such as copyright, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, states “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The Senate’s own website states “Copyright and patent protection of authors and inventors are authorized by this clause, although it uses neither word.” Shame on the NY Times for misappropriating the Constitution. The Constitution is held in high regard by all Americans, and I doubt nearly so many people would rally to the cause of the Copyright Act of 1976.