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in Filmmaking
on Mar 27, 2005


Listen closely and you’ll hear cheers echoing the corridors of cyberspace.

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban, owner of 2929, HDNet, Magnolia Pictures and the Dallas Mavericks, has announced on his blog that following a request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation he’ll be financing Grokster’s legal bills in MGM vs. Grokster, a case that winds up at the Supreme Court this Tuesday.

The case revolves around the question of whether or not file-sharing services and peer-to-peer networks can be sued if their technology allows users to download or trade copywritten content. The entertainment industry is hoping to overturn a 1984 verdict in a pre-internet version of this debate involving the Sony Betamax recorder.

Read Cuban’s entire post, which is a cogent and measured discussion of the case and his “little content company.” Here’s an excerpt:

“We are a digital company that is platform agnostic. Bits are bits. We don’t care how they are distributed, just that they are. We want our content to get to the customer in the way the customer wants to receive it, when they want to receive it, at a price that is of value to them. Simple business.

Unless Grokster loses to MGM in front of the Supreme Court. If Grokster loses, technological innovation might not die, but it will have such a significant price tag associated with it, it will be the domain of the big corporations only.

It won’t be a good day when high school entrepreneurs have to get a fairness opinion from a technology-oriented law firm to confirm that big music or movie studios won’t sue you because they can come up with an angle that makes a judge believe the technology might impact the music business. It will be a sad day when American corporations start to hold their U.S. digital innovations and inventions overseas to protect them from the RIAA, moving important jobs overseas with them…

This isn’t the big content companies against the technology companies. This is the big content companies, against me, Mark Cuban and my little content company. It’s about our ability to use future innovations to compete v.s their ability to use the courts to shut down our ability to compete. It’s that simple.”

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