the gray line

Erik Hemdal ehemdal at
Sun Jul 24 16:58:27 UTC 2005


> -----Original Message-----
> From: fedora-marketing-list-bounces at 
> [mailto:fedora-marketing-list-bounces at] On Behalf 
> Of Karsten Wade
> Sent: Sunday, July 24, 2005 12:05 PM
> To: fedora-marketing-list at
> Subject: the gray line
> Please allow me to pull this discussion into a separate 
> thread, as I'm losing the details in the "Fedora Guide" thread.
> Trying to understand what the current position is on linking 
> to third- party sites that -may- link to other sites that may 
> have infringing content.  In other words,, 
>, etc.
> My current understanding is:
> * We -can- send people to those sites, as general answer sites
> * We -cannot- send people to those sites to "get your MP3s"
> * This is because we are not able to control the content of 
> any website, from to  This is 
> different from knowing that the target URL has specific 
> packages that circumvent stuff.
> Is that clear as mud?
> thx - Karsten

>From what I have read, the issue is one of inducement of infringement,
brought to the fore by the US Supreme Court's decision in June against

The classic in this area of IP law was the "Betamax" decision which came
down on Sony's side.  In that case, the  Court allowed Betamax video
recorders to be sold because Sony made the case for a video recorder to be a
"time-shifting" device.  Recording a TV show so you can watch it later was
not considered to be an infringing use.  Sony did not go out of its way to
show users how to steal movies using Beta video tapes.  They didn't offer a
service that made illegal movies available to users.  They only made a
machine that could record video.  Sony wasn't at fault for infringement
simply because a user could use a VCR to steal movies.

In the Grokster case, the key difference is that Grokster appeared to
encourage its users to use their software to obtain illegal copies of music
files.  They did not charge any fees, and only earned revenue from ads
visible to users.  So the case was made that Grokster depended on illegal
file sharing for its business model.  The more illegal activity, the more
people used Grokster (giving it advertising revenue).  

So this new decision says that you can be liable for infringement if you
encourage others to infringe.  According to the Grokster decision, that
company went too far.  But there's no definition of exactly how much
encouragement is too much.  So companies that make technology are properly
cautious right now.

Karsten, are their attorneys at Red Hat who can offer guidelines about what
the Fedora Project can do, how much can be done to encourage users, and how
it should be explained?  It's really a legal topic. 


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