The potential that the high court rules in favor of the entertainment industry is causing much anxiety among some technologists. "It could be a disaster," Tim O'Reilly, owner of computer-book publisher O'Reilly & Associates, told The New York Times in an article published this past week.
Services that have nothing to do about illicit duplication of copyrighted material could be harmed if the court agrees with recording and motion-picture companies. Among those services featured at the recent Emerging Technologies Conference, according to the Times:
* Flickr, a Canadian service lets Web loggers and surfers easily share and catalog millions of digital photographs.
* Features in Amazon.com's A9 search engine aimed at simplifying the sharing among Web users of searches expressly customized to mine a variety of media such as newspapers, yellow pages, and catalogs.
* An online service from software designer iFabricate that simplifies the sharing of instructions for complex do-it-yourself garage construction projects. Projects can be documented and shared with a mixture of images, text, ingredient lists, computer-animated design files and digital videos.
* Wikipedia, a volunteer-run online encyclopedia effort that now has generated 1.5 million entries in 200 languages.
One of the concerned technologists is Mitchell Kapor, founder of the Open Source Applications Foundation, a not-for-profit group that's developing an E-mail program and a related set of information-sharing software programs. Kapor told the Times: "This conference shows that it's no longer about sharing movies and music. The momentum of the technology has moved away from the lawsuit."