30 June 2003

Other People's Speech

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (based in Chicago, covering Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana) ruled today on Internet filesharing. In re Aimster Copyright Litigation. Judge Posner, who wrote the 23-page opinion for a unanimous panel (on the other hand, the majority of all Circuit Court opinions are unanimous… as there are only three judges), thoroughly trashed one of the main arguments of the "information wants to be free" advocates by noting that the First Amendment has little force when those asserting it are only repeating what others expressed and claim copyright in.

Maybe information does want to be free. Copyright is not about information; it is about expression. In any event, the decision upholds the preliminary injunction issued against Aimster (now Madster) that shut down its file-sharing operation. Awwwwww.