As Piracy Battle Nears Supreme Court, the Messages Grow Manic

By David
February 7, 2005

“Garret the Ferret is one hip copyright crusader. The cartoon character urges young cybercitizens toward ethical downloading and – in baggy jeans and a gold “G” medallion – reminds them that copying and sharing software is uncool.

He is also a byproduct of the long-roiling public relations battle between copyright owners, who say they are threatened by digital piracy, and technology advocates opposed to strict controls on the copying of digital media, and on the kinds of software that make piracy so easy.

With the Supreme Court scheduled next month to hear a pivotal case pitting copyright holders (represented by MGM Studios) against the makers of file-sharing software (Grokster and StreamCast Networks), some participants are putting their message machines into high gear.

But winning hearts and minds – of teenagers, consumers and lawmakers – has never been a simple matter […]”