Reporting Late On Grokster

These things take time and can often be hard to read, so while we all wanted the high court to look at the entertainment industry lawyers and tell them to take a hike Tuesday, we’ll have to wait until summer to know what actually went down.

But there is one interesting thing so far…

It was in Nina Totenberg’s wrap-up for NPR that alerted me to this turn in the arguments:

In answer to a question from Justice Scalia, lawyers for MGM “said that at the time the iPod was invented, it was clear that there were many perfectly lawful uses for it, such as ripping one’s own CD and storing it in the iPod.” I’m quoting from Timothy K. Armstrong, via Ernest Miller at The Importance Of…. Here’s what the excitement was about:

This was a very interesting point for them to make, not least because I would wager that there are a substantial number of people on MGM’s side of the case who don’t think that example is one bit legal. But they’ve now conceded the contrary in open court, so if they actually win this case they’ll be barred from challenging “ripping” in the future under the doctrine of judicial estoppel.

My completely uninformed conclusions: 1: Big Media knows it’s on shakey ground, and 2: if nothing else, we’ll get the right to time and space shift content, as described above.

Note: there’s no end of folks who will tell you exactly why the Totenberg’s NPR coverage is lacking. Let me just say that it’s worth checking out other coverage, including the EFF‘s to really understand the issue.

Grokster miscellany: a photo accompanying a story on Grokster bloggers makes clear the EFF is full of Mac users like lawyer Wendy Seltzer.