The Grokster Case's Silver Lining?
Posted by: Rob Hof on June 27, 2005
Billy McNair certainly has an ax to grind when it comes to the Grokster file-sharing case, in which the Supreme court held Monday that such services can be held responsible for the illegal activities of their users. Some folks, like our own Sarah Lacy at Deal Flow and Dan Gillmor at Bayosphere think the Court’s decision could be a blow to innovation, since it could discourage the development even of technologies used for legal purposes. Not McNair, cofounder of Peerflix, which helps people trade their physical DVDs by mail. He thinks the case will clear the way for new services (such as his, of course) that don’t infringe on copyrighted material. “If people are really trying to stop infringement, they’ll probably be OK,” he told me this morning.
Problem is, business plans with “probably” in them aren’t what many investors are willing to bank on. There are still legitimate reasons to wonder if skittish investors will just avoid anything even close, regardless of how promising it is.