P2P Transmission Technologies, Industrial Values and A Comparative Review of Relevant Judgments in the United States of America and Taiwan

P2P Transmission Technologies, Industrial Values and A Comparative Review of Relevant Judgments in the United States of America and Taiwan

 

Title
P2P Transmission Technologies, Industrial Values and A Comparative Review of Relevant Judgments in the United States of America and Taiwan
Author
Ming-Tung Lo
Keywords
substantial noninfringing uses doctrine, P2P, ezPeer, Kuro, Napster, Aimster, Grokster, staple article of commerce doctrine
Abstract
The advancement of modern technology has brought about radical changes
in Internet utilization techniques. The conventional Internet utilization model,
based upon a server-client framework, has been gradually substituted by the peerto-peer
(P2P) framework. The recognition of such a decentralized framework will
inevitably involve different transmission techniques. Moreover, judgments
rendered by courts in different jurisdictions tend to differ, and therefore call for
further methodological analyses and comparisons. This article proposes to review
specific judgments, addressing specific cases, such as the Napster Case, the
Aimster Case, and the Grokster Case, handed down by the U.S. Courts of Appeal
and the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Taiwan, the Shih-Lin District Court granted an acquittal in the ezPeer
Case based on the theory of “Objective Imputation of Criminal Liability.” The
ezPeer judgment deduced that the construction of the ezPeer platform of the
website at issue did not constitute an “intolerable risk in the Criminal Law,” and
furthermore, that the owner of the ezPeer website had not established the P2P mechanism with the intent of infringing others’ copyrights. No finding of a
communication of criminal intent with the actual copyright infringer (i.e., the user
or the registered member of ezPeer) could be established under the doctrine of
joint principal offenders. The ezPeer judgment further defined the assistance
offered by the website owner to be “neutral” in essence and thus found that the
owner had no knowledge of the act carried out by the user and, consequently,
could not be said to have had any intent to assist. On the other hand, the guilty
judgment arrived at by the Taipei District Court in the Kuro Case was based upon
the affirmative findings of a communication of criminal intent and on the
partaking of offences between the website owner and its users.
Such disparity in these judgments may be explained by the substantial
differences in civil and criminal laws, the technological differences in the
methods of transmission involved in the different cases, and the interpretative
differences in applying the doctrine of substantial noninfringing uses. It is,
therefore, the intention of this article to summarize and review these cases and
their respective judgments in order to clarify the issues outlined above to serve as
a reference for assigning civil and/or criminal liabilities in future cases involving
P2P.
Abstract Article

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