Supreme Court's Grokster decision limited

Hollywood got pretty much everything it wanted from the Supreme Court on Monday, but techies and studio insiders agreed there’s one thing the Grokster decision likely won’t significantly affect: piracy.

Illegal downloads have largely moved to applications that aren’t run by corporations (and therefore can’t be targeted by U.S. law).

“When you look where most piracy is happening today, there’s no there there,” observed Marc Morgenstern, VP of piracy tracking company Overpeer. “Piracy will go on unabated.”

Studio execs uniformly declined to comment on the decision Monday, preferring to leave their message to the MPAA. Org admitted the decision won’t have an immediate impact, but said it could prevent more people from engaging in piracy.

“This decision is a starting point for change,” said Dean Garfield, VP of legal affairs and worldwide antipiracy for MPAA. “Shutting down these operations will help keep piracy from becoming a mainstream activity.”

Studios had indicated a ruling in their favor in the Grokster case would help them work with P2P companies to distribute content legally. It remains to be seen if they’ll go through with that promise, but several startups are lining up in hopes of partnering with movie and music companies on P2P.

IMesh, a P2P outfit that temporarily ceased operations last year after settling litigation with the music biz, used the occasion of the Grokster decision to disclose its plans to transition to a legit service. Company soon will start offering digital music for sale alongside free content being distributed online legally either without copyright or with the owners’ permission. Former Sony Music and RCA Records topper Robert Summer is taking a position as exec chairman.

Similarly, startup Snocap is planning to integrate copyrighted content for sale onto existing P2P networks when it launches later this year.

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