Blubster is software that’s sometimes referred to as the Spanish Napster. It garnered the ire of the record companies, with the Spanish version of the RIAA, Promusicae, as well as international record labels, who filed a lawsuit absent the developer of the technology, Pablo Soto, and his company, MP2P Technologies.
The lawsuit was based on the contention that Soto’s software was designed to make it easier to pirate music. It further alleged that the developer had intended to make a profit off of that privacy. In response, the record labels petitioned for $18 million in damages from the developer.
The record companies lost in 2011. A court held that the technology was neutral and that there was no basis to pay the record companies what they demanded. The record companies appealed, and just lost again.
The courts, this time, upheld the initial ruling that Soto’s software was neutral. They went on to add that it’s protected under the Spanish constitution, making it unlikely that the record companies would be able to pursue further action. This is good news for all of the developers out there, as well, who may have less to fear from copyright cartels.
Soto brought out a new version of his software after the ruling, this one designed to work with the bittorrent protocol. There are positive implications for other developers who want to continue producing software that makes it easier for people to use the Internet to share information.
Legal experts have said that this ruling provides a good shield for developers. One of the tactics that they copyright organizations have been trying over the years is linking the developers of software to piracy, making them potentially liable to be sued over software they developed, even if it was never intended for piracy and they had no interest in piracy themselves.
With this ruling, it should make it easier for developers to keep on innovating and to make sure that they don’t feel intimidated out of putting something good out on the market. There are implications for many other technologies in this and, because the courts held that the record companies have no real basis for filing these lawsuits, legal interference, at least in this form, may diminish.
The copyright cartels are still out there, however, and one victory, however happy it may be, does not mean that the battle is won in any regard. For Soto, however, this is indisputably a major victory.