[d@DCC] Appeals court affirms Grokster v MGM
russell at flora.ca
Fri Aug 20 16:26:42 EDT 2004
On Fri, 20 Aug 2004, John Lange wrote:
> Owning your own server does not fundamentally alter the equation of
> "Internet participation" in any significant way. No matter where your
> content is, its always subject to control by the next higher level in
> the chain.
The courts have said a number of times that there is a fundamental
difference between an intermediary on the Internet (upstream/downstream
routers, where up and down is largely subjective and arbitrary) and the
owner of an endpoint on the Internet.
The Internet was designed to be end-to-end, putting all the smarts at
the endpoints rather than within the network. This means that control
does not and should not exist except on those endpoints.
If you are behind NAT then only the NAT box is an endpoint as far as the
Internet is concerned. If you are behind a firewall that you do not
control, you are not fully "on the Internet".
> Also, the argument that not being able to host your own server is a
> dramatic change in the nature of the internet is also false. At no time
> in the brief history of what we know as the internet have a significant
> proportion of users been able to, or been allowed to host their own
> content on their own machines.
The owners of nodes on the Internet have always and continue to be able
to host content of any type they want on the Internet. The Internet is
fundamentally end-to-end (host-to-host, peer-to-peer, citizen-to-citizen
-- take your pick of term).
If you are not technically able to host any content you wish on your
node on the Internet then:
a) You are not the owner of the machine (or aren't in adequate control
over your own computer, which is not an Internet issue)
b) You are not actually a node on the Internet.
> The vast majority of machines have always been "clients" with a
> proportionally few being "servers".
This is a configuration choice made by the owners of each node at a
given time, and not at all related to the structure of the Internet. Do
not allow a statistical analysis of a historical configuration choice to
be "grandfathered" as some sort of policy which should be enforced on the
Had such a historical/statistical policy been put in place early in the
history of the Internet then HTTP and other new protocols would never have
been allowed to emerge, and the Internet would have remained an obscure
military/academic toy irrelevant to most of the world.
> The concept of "your own" server on "your own" connection does not exist
> and has NEVER existed in the history of the internet.
Please clarify, as I do not understand. What you appear to be saying is
at odds with my more than a decade of experience on the Internet, and
everything I know about the Internet.
I own (and have owned and/or controlled) many nodes on the Internet
running a variety of different software communicating on a variety of
different ports (Some "listening" for inbound connections, some not).
You are interacting with a node I own that I called "newdelhi.flora.ca"
when you interact with this mailing list or the website. There are also
various inbound mail servers and DNS servers also involved at various
times that are other nodes within that LAN.
Some of the software I run are "servers", some "clients", some "both"
(and depending on how you define client/server, some may be neither).
These are private software configuration choices I have made at given
points in time that should be understood as irrelevant to the nature or
history of the Internet as an end-to-end routed communications service.
The difference between a "client" and a "server" on the Internet is
*ONLY* the choice of software that the owner of a node on the Internet
chose to run (or not run). This was true until extremely recently with
the creation of a consumer class of users gated to the Internet
Note: While I run my own NAT/firewall boxes, I have never experienced a
"consumer" connection to the network. I don't think I would ever bother
purchasing such a service as it wouldn't be useful to me. I either want
to be on the real Internet or not bother at all.
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
Petition for Users' Rights, Protect Internet creativity and innovation
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