28) Browncoat Trivia

Michael Weiss was, and still is, one of my heroes. His company was among the first sued but the last to surrender. He, in fact, was the only browncoat to fight on post Grokster. I pulled for him at every hearing but alas victory was not to be. StreamCast filed for bankruptcy in 2008.

Michael and I got together in California on several occasions after our first meeting. He was always very generous with his time, wisdom, and contacts. He now runs a new startup based out of Tyler Texas. I owe him a call.

Mark Cuban it turns out, helped finance the Grokster legal fight. It was a surprising bit of trivia I learned from Michael himself. He thought Mark might be interested in our advertising system and offered to introduce me. I never followed up on his offer. I should have.

Sam Yagan was among the last browncoats threatened by the RIAA. He didn’t receive a C&D until after the Grokster decision. He made his public surrender before the Senate a couple weeks later. His company MetaMachines continued their covert charade until September 11th when the RIAA threw eDonkey’s kill switch. MetaMachines announced their settlement the next day.

I can’t really argue with Sam’s call. He went on to make his dating site, OK Cupid, extremely successful. He sold it for $50 million only a few years later.

Shawn Fanning went on to create company called Snocap. It intended to regulate the wild west of P2P sharing that he helped create. It did not succeed.

Anthony Rose, like Shawn Fanning, went on to create technology to help monitor unauthorized file sharing. He told me Brilliant hoped their Global File Registry would become a “standard technical measure” as alluded to in the DMCA. It did not.

He went on to found a new company named Zeebox. It overlays out-of-band linking on television. Some ideas are timeless. I owe him a call too.

Grokster, the company, surrendered shortly after the legal decision that bears its name. (Too many to list) followed suit.

18,000 peer-to-peer users settled lawsuits with the RIAA for between $3,000 and $5,000. In all the RIAA filed more than 30,000 P2P user lawsuits. The campaign was not considered a success. They ceased filing new lawsuits at the end of 2008.

Kevin Bermeister who founded Brilliant Digital Media, purchased Kazaa, locked out Morpheus, and fought legal battles on two continents, losing both. Went on, as I understand, to make a gazillion dollars investing in Skype. (part of the Kazaa spoils) He was then sued by StreamCast. Won. Countersued. Won again, forcing StreamCast into bankruptcy.

As close as I can figure, Kevin is now financing Michael Weiss’s new company. There is no moral to this story.


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  1. I like the way you think. We should hang out sometime and start a company just for the hell of it.

  2. LMAO! Funny how things work out!

  3. Hey!

    You were just getting to the good bit… 🙂

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    this blog is actually amazing.

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