By Deane Barker on September 24, 2004

Welcome to Grouper: P2P with a twist. When you “share” a music file, it just streams from one machine to the other, so you never really…release the track. No one “gets” the track, so is there a copyright problem?

I imagine this is akin to me sticking big speakers in the windows of my house, facing them towards the street, and playing a song for everyone on the block. Sure, they’d want to kill me, but have I broke any copyright laws? I never “gave” them anything.



  1. You still sent them a digital copy of the music. Even failing that, it would probably qualify as an ‘unauthorized public performance’

  2. Definately public performance, and the media companies pay attention to even penny-ante stuff. Teh anime club at the college I went to got busted for showing 20 people VHS cassettes of some anime every weekend.

  3. No, it’s not public – in Grouper, you set up virtual private networks of no more than 30 people. Within each private group, individual members can stream music from any other member’s machine, providing they’ve “shared” those files with the group.

    So it’s more like you ask your friend to play the song for you. It’s a private performance.

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