During the appeals process of the RIAA vs. Morpheus and Grokster case, the judge told the RIAA’s attorneys to “stop using abusive language.” A transcription of his commentary runs thusly:
“Let me say what I think your problem is. You can use these harsh terms, but you are dealing with something new, and the question is, does the statutory monopoly that Congress has given you reach out to that something new. And that’s a very debatable question. You don’t solve it by calling it ‘theft.’ You have to show why this court should extend a statutory monopoly to cover the new thing. That’s your problem. Address that if you would. And curtail the use of abusive language.”
This alone is a huge victory for the virtual commons. The Intellectual Property interests — those who would enclose the virtual commons — have been using harsh language to attempt to frame the debate so narrowly that no one could possibly disagree with them. This judge finally called them on it. Groklaw, as usual, is on top of it, with a detailed summary of this story. Check it out. On that page there are transcriptions, as well as mp3 recordings, of the court case.