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CEA Addresses File Sharing Case

CEA president Gary Shapiro responded to the MGM v. Grokster case argued yesterday before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Arlington, Va–Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) president and CEO Gary Shapiro responded to the MGM v. Grokster case argued yesterday before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Shapiro issued this statement: “This is the most important case before the Supreme Court this year. At face value, the case concerns peer-to-peer file sharing. But in truth, the case is much broader. It’s about preserving America’s proud history of technological innovation and protecting the ability of consumers to access and utilize technology.

“We are optimistic that the Justices will uphold the standards set by the Court in the landmark Betamax decision more than 20 years ago. The Betamax decision set the standard for which technologies should be evaluated–a product should be legal if there are significant non-infringing uses, even if the product or technology can be used to infringe copyright. I was thrilled that at the oral argument the Justices appeared to recognize that innovation and technology are important and that technologies should not be subject to prior scrutiny by copyright owners.

“An adverse decision in this case would undermine the critical balance between protecting intellectual property, innovation and consumers’ fair use rights established by Betamax. The Betamax principles stand as the Magna Carta for the technology industry and are responsible for the explosion in innovation that has occurred in the U.S. over the past 20 years. If these principles are undermined, we may witness the end of popular and revolutionary products and technologies such as the iPod, Tivo and even the Internet itself, and also the premature deaths of thousands of products that still only exist as a concept in the mind of young entrepreneurs.

“We will continue to fight to defend the Betamax principles and the right to innovate, no matter the outcome of this case. In the interim, we urge the Court to uphold Betamax and help maintain America’s leadership in innovation and entrepreneurship.”