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Mark Cuban to fund Grokster vs. MGM case.

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:01AM (#12059841)
    I hope he doesn't make it into a reality series.
    • by ari_j (90255)
      Why is he funding it when the only thing left is the oral argument this Tuesday?

      I think the only thing there's left to fund is a reality series.
      • EFF is a non profit organization. While dedicated to electronic related causes they could decided to use the Cuban donation to overthrow Fidel Castro.
  • Cuban libre?
    • by zotz (3951)
      "Cuban libre?"

      That's funny! Stupid, but funny and I mean no disrespect, I like my funny like this a lot of the time.

      Mod parent up please.

      all the best,

      drew
      • I know the parent post to mine was offtopic, but it was funny. (Did you not get the joke?)

        My post was offtopic to the article, but not in a smaller context.

        So, what was your thinking? Or were you simply trying to spend your mod points quickly and picked a safe one?

        all the best,

        drew
  • Ok, I'll bite... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Evro (18923) *
    Who the F is Mark Cuban?
  • Mark Cuban (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wizy (38347) <greggatghc.gmail@com> on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:09AM (#12059875) Journal
    You can see what he has done in nearly every business he has run. He has made it work, made it run smooth and gotten a lot of money for it when he sold it off. He took the mavericks and made them into a contending team instead of a team that never had a chance of making the playoffs let alone winning anything.

    Its nice to see him getting in on this. He might be goofy and really into himself, but he is good at winning.
    • Re:Mark Cuban (Score:3, Informative)

      He's got a tremendous ego, at least the match of Steve Jobs. He's a bit of a control freak. But he knows how to get things done, and despite his ego, he does have a more human and compassionate side.

      This from a friend that worked on The Benefactor, from his personal contact and from things he heard from other people.
      • Re:Mark Cuban (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sjwaste (780063) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @12:12PM (#12060127)
        He's got a tremendous ego, at least the match of Steve Jobs. He's a bit of a control freak. But he knows how to get things done, and despite his ego, he does have a more human and compassionate side.

        In my opinion, that's not ego at all. What's wrong with a guy being aware and proud of his own abilities? It seems today everyone tries to go out of their way to make other people feel important even when they're not contributing shit, and anyone who decides they want to admit they've done well has an "ego". Well, it seems he's earned the right to do so.
        • Well, perhaps I should have said arrogant and self-centered. Sosumi.
    • by LDoggg_ (659725) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @03:14PM (#12060986) Homepage
      Than he should've renewed Steve Nash's contract.
      If Phoenix finishes with the best record, Nash is gonna get the MVP award.

      Wow, NBA on-top in a slashdot post. Good day so far :)
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:11AM (#12059883) Homepage Journal
    The Betamax shield doesn't necessarily fit the circumstances. With the analog VCR tech, there are generational losses and the machines aren't conducive to easy affordable mass-distribution because of their 1x record rates. One reason SCOTUS gave Betamax their blessings was that people at the time weren't trying to build libraries of videos, but rather watch TV shows at a more convenient time, but my impression of P2P users is that they are trying to build libraries, and of material that wasn't necessarily licenced for broadcast anyway. Even when the material was licenced for broadcast, the ads are often removed.

    With P2P, there are no generational losses and it doesn't require any money other than a working computer and an internet connection to distribute as many infringing copies as the user likes.
    • And here I was thinking the "Betamax shield" was some new form of birth control.....
    • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:21AM (#12059923) Homepage
      One reason SCOTUS gave Betamax their blessings was that people at the time weren't trying to build libraries of videos, but rather watch TV shows at a more convenient time

      ...the court recognized that there were people who did this, who probably were in violation of copyright law. An actual infringement is one of the requirements for contributory infringement. What they decided was that the potential illegal uses did not negate the tool's legal uses.

      There is no way to rule against Grokster without violating the Betamax shield. Essentially, a tool has legal and illegal uses (specific circumvention tools like DeCSS might not fall under this, but otherwise the Betamax shield is wide). Can we punish the producers because a significant amount of the population chooses to break the law, using their tools?

      If so, I would like to see the class action suit against Ford, Mazda, Chevrolet, Toyota, Hyundai, BMW et al for creating tools of speeding. At least around here, official numbers say 90%+ speed at times (and the rest are probably liars). You can fine the perp, but you don't punish the toolmaker.

      Kjella
      • Re:Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by stubear (130454) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @12:17PM (#12060147)
        What the OP was saying, and I happen to agree with his point, is that P2P software is not being used to time shift. This was the argument put forth in the Betamax case. It's hard to argue that time shifting is occurring on P2P networks and even if it is, many of the TV shows have been stripped of their commercials, something not easily done with VCRs, especially by those who were simply time shifting TV shows. There are enough differences between these two circumstances, and the climate surrounding copyright and rampant infringement on P2P networks, that Betamax applying is not a slam dunk. The US judicial system is not like some computer program that analyzes simple logic and spits out a result.
        • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @12:27PM (#12060181) Homepage
          It doesn't have to be. In the Betamax case, the Supreme Court said that technology need only have potential substantial noninfringing uses for the developer to avoid contributory liability.

          This serves two purposes: First, it allows the developer and the world time to figure out what the technology is good for. P2P networks are copyright neutral -- anything can go over the network. Thus, copyright holders can take advantage of it as well. Second, it prevents copyright holders -- really a subset of them, in fact (even back in '84, some were in favor of the Betamax) -- to extend their copyright on a specific work to what would effectively be a patent on a technology.

          Grokster has won in the lower courts because their case is a slam dunk for Betamax. The only way that they can lose is if Betamax gets overturned.
          • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @04:54PM (#12061505) Journal
            P2P networks are copyright neutral -- anything can go over the network.

            Note that the same applies to the Internet itself, and to a plethora of its components: Routers, TCP, FTP, cabling, webservers, etc.

            There is good reason to believe that a vast majority of the traffic on the Internet is "pirated" copyrighted material. If the movie, music, and broadcast industry conglomerates can use a "mostly used for piracy" argument to shut down one application or one protocol, they can use the same argument to shut down ANY or ALL of them.

            The entertainment conglomerates would LOVE to have the Internet go away. (Some of them even flamed it systematically as it was catching on. Some of them still do.) It pulls eyeballs from their products and is thus perceived as cutting into their revenue.

            Remember that the Internet itself was designed as a peer-to-peer system - an interconnection of a vast network of endpoints that exchange information. The perception of it as a client-server, vendor-customer network (like, say, a broadcast medium) is an illusion, created by three factors:
            - The enormous success of a few client-server apps, such as the web, (where the servers are usually run by a corp or institution),
            - the rise of ISPs (with terms of service discouraging consumer-grade customers from hosting servers), and
            - the shortage of IPv4 address (leading to workarounds such as dynamic address allocation and NAT, which also impeed hosting a server on a consumer-grade connection).

        • It's hard to argue that time shifting is occurring on P2P networks and even if it is, many of the TV shows have been stripped of their commercials, something not easily done with VCRs, especially by those who were simply time shifting TV shows.

          "We'll be back after these words fro-[[pause]]... [[unpause]]-lcome Back, everyone!..."
          • "We'll be back after these words fro-[[pause]]... [[unpause]]-lcome Back, everyone!..."

            That approach requires the user to actually pay MORE attention to the commercials than she would otherwise, so it is not "easily done". Plus, if you are monitoring the commercials while the program is recording, then you are also watching the program as it airs, and not "time shifting" at all.
      • Hand grenades are not legal (and the makers suffer) because we balance the likely use with many factors.

        Sudafed is now a behind the counter drug in many states (slowing sales) because end users used it to make meth.

    • by cognibrain (710524) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:27AM (#12059942)
      One reason SCOTUS gave Betamax their blessings was that people at the time weren't trying to build libraries of videos...

      Not true. From the BetaMax Shield [eff.org] link:

      ....the uncontroverted survey evidence established that 69% to 75% of all Betamax owners maintain large libraries of off-the-air recordings and that the vast majority of programs in those libraries are copyrighted motion pictures....

      Only 9% of users were making legitimate recordings, but the court ruled that these people should not be denied, despite the majority's unlawful behaviour.
      • ....the uncontroverted survey evidence established that 69% to 75% of all Betamax owners maintain large libraries of off-the-air recordings and that the vast majority of programs in those libraries are copyrighted motion pictures....

        News this week: Huge numbers of people flock to eBay to pick up Betamax recorders so they can tape all their P2P content to the format and remain legit :)

        Ok.. probably not likely :)

        --Jim
    • by timeOday (582209) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:33AM (#12059970)
      The question is not whether p2p'ing shows will be legal (it won't). The question is whether p2p itself will be legal, just as the Bemax question was whether VCRs would be legal.

      From the article:

      the case raises a question of critical importance at the border between copyright and innovation: When should the distributor of a multi-purpose tool be held liable for the infringements that may be committed by end-users of the tool?

      in Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. (a.k.a. the "Sony Betamax ruling") held that a distributor cannot be held liable for users' infringement so long as the tool is capable of substantial noninfringing uses. In MGM v. Grokster, the Ninth Circuit found that P2P file-sharing software is capable of, and is in fact being used for, noninfringing uses. Relying on the Betamax precedent, the court ruled that the distributors of Grokster and Morpheus software cannot be held liable for users' copyright violations. The plaintiffs appealed, and in December 2004 the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

    • The Betamax shield doesn't necessarily fit the circumstances. With the analog VCR tech, there are generational losses and the machines aren't conducive to easy affordable mass-distribution because of their 1x record rates. One reason SCOTUS gave Betamax their blessings was that people at the time weren't trying to build libraries of videos, but rather watch TV shows at a more convenient time, but my impression of P2P users is that they are trying to build libraries, and of material that wasn't necessarily l
      • The question in Grokster is whether there are genuine, substantial non-infringing uses or whether the theoretical and hypothetical uses being proposed are spurious and the only substantial use is to pirate stuff.

        No, that's not true. The questions of fact were dealt with and decided by the lower court, are undisputed (read the plaintiffs briefs, and the oral arguments - they try very hard to claim to dispute the facts, but were clearly unable to do so. The Supremes, furthermore, rarely address questions of

        • No, that's not true. The questions of fact were dealt with and decided by the lower court, are undisputed (read the plaintiffs briefs, and the oral arguments - they try very hard to claim to dispute the facts, but were clearly unable to do so. The Supremes, furthermore, rarely address questions of fact - the vast majority of their cases, like this one, are appeals, and appeals generally do not involve issues of fact, but rather of law and procedure.

          I think that people are reading Betamax way too literally

          • The interpretation of the facts is a matter of law, not fact

            Umm no. Courts routinely distinguish between the two. Appeals courts do not normally examine matters of fact at all - only whether or not the lower court applied the proper law and procedure in making their determination.

            In Betamax the issue of intent, other ways to realie the same end etc. did not occur. The principle use of the VCR was manifestly a fair use in the sense that it did not negatively affect the copyright owners interests.

            I thi

            • Umm no. Courts routinely distinguish between the two. Appeals courts do not normally examine matters of fact at all - only whether or not the lower court applied the proper law and procedure in making their determination

              Without facts there is no case. What Grockster is up to is beyond dispute.

              The only questions that are in doubt here are whether the 'non-infringement uses' identified meet the standard for fair use under the law. That is a question of law, not fact, the question is what the standard shou

          • The Supreme Court cannot rule for MGM without vitiating half of Betamax. They probably won't say they are doing so, but they will. It is indisputable that there are substantial noninfringing uses for P2P technology; that is the test under Betamax, despite your claim that it isn't.

            To rule for MGM the Supreme Court must decide that "substantial noninfringing use" isn't enough; they may decide as you've suggested that the "principle" use is what is important. Or more likely they'll apply some sort of fuzzy
          • The principle use of the VCR was manifestly a fair use in the sense that it did not negatively affect the copyright owners interests.

            That's false. The principle VCR use is negative for the copyright owners, even if that use is merely time-shifting. Fair Use doesn't require zero economic harm, however- only that economic harm has been taken into account as part of the overall consideration.
      • It is almost certain that a DVR with a firewire port to plug in extra hard drives gets through.

        One already has; it's called the Apple Macintosh. All recent Macs come with 1394 interfaces; just add Apple's free FireWire SDK, some AppleScript, and a tuner with FireWire output, such as the Moto DCT-62xx boxes used by Charter & Comcast, or the Samsung SIR-T165 for ATSC over-the-air, and you've got a DVR fully capable of recording & playing back HD.

        I've been doing this for the last year using a $100
      • by Kjella (173770)
        I think that it is very likely that either SCOTUS decides that pirate-to-pirate networks are illegal or Congress does. The RIAA and MPAA bought Orin Hatch long ago.

        ...I'll just take this opportunity to say good-bye to all my friends in the US, before the lights on your subnet goes out. As much as I'll miss slashdot, I'm sure you will miss Internet more.

        Kjella
  • by Faust7 (314817) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:12AM (#12059892) Homepage
    I am not a technology owner.

    I call bullshit. ;)
  • by DSLAMngu (715456) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:14AM (#12059901)
    The headline seemed to indicate that Mark Cuban was funding the destruction of the Betamax shield. Someone should make it clear that he is actually helping the EFF to defend Grokster against the RIAA.

    This is not the editors' best work.

  • by Fox_1 (128616) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:14AM (#12059902)
    Spelling errors intact from his blog(I added the bold) :
    So , the real reason of this blog. To let everyone know that the EFF and others came to me and asked if I would finance the legal effort against MGM. I said yes. I would provide them the money they need. So now the truth has been told. This isnt the big content companies against the technology companies. This is the big content companies, against me. Mark Cuban and my little content company. Its about our ability to use future innovations to compete vs their ability to use the courts to shut down our ability to compete. its that simple
    Dood wants to be a Hero - the Benefactor, the Mavericks, this guy is desperate for attention - not that I don't mind his neurosis helping protect my freedoms.
  • its MGM vs. Grokster (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShinmaWa (449201) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:15AM (#12059904)
    Its MGM v. Grokster, not Grokster v. MGM. The way it currently reads in the summary, it gives the strong impression that Grokster is suing MGM and that Mark Cuban is defending MGM.

    Its always Plaintiff v. Defendant, NEVER the other way around.
  • Kitchen knives (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:20AM (#12059920) Homepage
    I don't know about the USA, but in England it has long been held that a manufacturer of a kitchen knife cannot be held responsible for a murder carried out using the knife.
    • by droleary (47999) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:36AM (#12059980) Homepage

      I don't know about the USA, but in England it has long been held that a manufacturer of a kitchen knife cannot be held responsible for a murder carried out using the knife.

      In the USA, we use guns to irresponsibly kill each other. Only in rural and/or southern regions does the concept of a special "kitchen gun" make sense. Now you know!

      • by kurosawdust (654754) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:02PM (#12060352)
        Oh man, the Kitchen Gun has been a staple of Southern cuisine for centuries now. Ever have grits? That's nothing but a bushel of ears of corn before the twelve-gauge tenderizer gets a hold of it.
      • Why you yunngins gots no respect for yer elders these days there was a time boy when that kitchen gun was what put food on yer granpappy's table. There ain't nutin' but trouble in takin away our kitchen guns if ye ask me...hack now git and leave an old man to his afternoon nap...
    • I don't know about the USA, but in England it has long been held that a manufacturer of a kitchen knife cannot be held responsible for a murder carried out using the knife.

      I, too, don't know about the USA ... and I've lived here all my life, mate.

      The nut of the Betamax case:

      In the Betamax case, the Supreme Court ruled that a company was not liable for creating a technology that some customers may use for copyright infringing purposes, so long as the technology is capable of substantial non-infrin
    • That is true.

      However, in England it is illegal to own a kitchen knife.

      So there are good and bad sides to it.
      • Illegal to own, or carry around the street? I dunno diddly about law in England but here there's a lot of stuff that you can own but not transport, like throwing knives.
        • "Illegal to own, or carry around the street? I dunno diddly about law in England but here there's a lot of stuff that you can own but not transport, like throwing knives."

          Which is why we really need to get to work with renewed energy on transporter technology.

          I mean, how are we supposed to get our throwing knives home from the store if we cant transport them.

          I take that back, transporter technology will do us no good in this case as transporting them is already illegal and the technology does not even ex
        • Illegal to own, or carry around the street? I dunno diddly about law in England but here there's a lot of stuff that you can own but not transport, like throwing knives.

          Of course you can't transport throwing knives -- you have to throw them.

          How the hell are we supposed to manage our planned economy if people go around carrying knives meant for throwing? The mere thought of it staggers my inner social Darwinist ... not to mention the quaking of my inner Aristotelian teleologist ....

          -kgj
        • You're not allowed to carry a knife with a blade above a certain length (which iirc is about 3") without reason - such as you're a chef and they're your knives, you've just bought them and/or are taking them home, etc.

          Of course it's not illegal to own kitchen knives in England! Every iron monger's and supermarket in the country sell them - what on earth do you think we cut food with?
    • England may apply this logic to kitchen knives, but they don't apply it to PlayStation mod chips [bbc.co.uk], which a judge, last year, decided were illegal to make, advertise, or sell.

    • I think we are going to see a come-to-jesus moment as Peer to peer, and gun lobbying issues get closer to the same point.

      As an aside, I overheard, on a right wing radio show, the other day someone laying blame on all these student killers and prosac. Brilliant, blame the killing spree on prosac. I wonder what caliber that prosac was. If you are not going to hold the fact that the kid had access to weapons as a factor in the latest school killing, at least have the balls to be consistent.

      Now here is my
      • The government has a responsibility to keep the peace as well as ensure public safety. Registering TNT is a responsible step in that direction.

        There seems to be a lot of confusion nowadays surrounding the phrase public safety. Governments like to cite this as a reason for all sorts of forays into our private lives, from destroying livestock (without just compensation) because it could possibly be infected with the latest virus, to such nonsense as seatbelt legislation, which criminalizes private choices i

      • Licensing of guns can be, and has been -- recently -- used to subsequently seize those guns so registered. Widespread gun ownership is an important safeguard against tyranny; government registration of guns is a step toward tyranny.
    • That's true, but if you sell or give someone a knife with reason to believe that they're going to use it to stab someone, and then they do, you can still be prosecuted for it. Same goes for anything else - if you have reason to believe that someone is going to commit a crime, and you provide them with the means to do so, you may well be liable.

      (Disclaimer: no, of course I'm not a lawyer)
  • by VoxCombo (782935) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @11:42AM (#12060004)
    Betamax was never questioned in the case.

    The original case went to a summary judgement over two laws: contributory infringement [A & M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc. (114 F. Supp. 2d)], and vicarious infringement [Fonovisa, Inc. v. Cherry Auction, Inc. (76 F.3d 262)].

    In the original case, the judge notes during sumamry judgement that Grokster found a loophole in copyright law, which allowed them to dance around the conditions needed for contributory and vicarious infringement.
    The language currently being used for this loophole is "willful blindness".

    • In the original case, the judge notes during sumamry judgement that Grokster found a loophole in copyright law, which allowed them to dance around the conditions needed for contributory and vicarious infringement. The language currently being used for this loophole is "willful blindness".

      Well, if that's a loophole, many are using it. All common carriers and ISPs are "willfully blind". So is the USPO and FedEx. As is the storage lockers on train stations and god knows how many others. And what about "escor
    • Hey mods! Misinformative is not informative

      #1) A bit of a nitpick: There are no laws (that is, statutes) on contributory or vicarous infringement. These are both judge-created doctrines.

      #2) Not a nitpick: Betamax IS exactly about contributory infringement. To claim that a device maker is guilty of same merely for making and distributing a device which has substantial noninfringing uses _is_ to challenge Betamax.

      I believe the specific doctrine of vicarious infringement of copyright post-dates Betamax
  • by FidelCatsro (861135) <fidelcatsroNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday March 27, 2005 @12:02PM (#12060087) Journal
    Viva Cuban ...
    This is wonderfull news , We need more people of his financial stature to help take on the errosions of our libertys .Still sad that you need this kind of cash to defend our rights against bussiness in the USA though.
    Land of the free as in $
  • Mark (Score:5, Informative)

    by jrwillis (306262) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @12:54PM (#12060308) Homepage
    Living in Texas I've known several people over the years that have known Mr. Cuban. No matter which one you talk to they all say the same thing. He's a realy down to earth guy that hasn't let all the money and power get to him. It seems that if he sees something he likes, he makes it succeed, AND still manages to make money off of it too. So rock on Mark, because you're doing one hell of a job.
  • Busted (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:22PM (#12060445) Homepage Journal
    And he's putting out the Enron movie [imdb.com]. Finally, someone spending Bubble money on something as worthwhile as Aeron chairs!
  • Good for Mark (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CokoBWare (584686) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @02:22PM (#12060727)
    Mark's argument "software doesn't steal music, people steal music" is the same as the argument that "guns don't kill people, people kill people". Let's get things into perspective. Technology by itself doesn't do anything unless it's applied. People make the decision to use the software and how to use it. The RIAA got it wrong. The MPSS got it right. Discourage people by educating them on how stealing movies is wrong. How you affect all the little guys. Nobody cares if Britney Spears and fat record execs make less money. Really, they don't.

    If record companies stopped killing innovative music, then I think people would care about stealing their stuff. If all people can get it trash, and they see it as trash, then they will respect it as trash. Pop music has become trash. Since people see it this way, and that's the only stuff they can get, they steal it cuz it's worth nothing to them anyways.

    People steal music, not software.
  • This is an incredibly important case. At its core is the question: Can the makers of a product or the providers of a service be held responsible for the misuse of that product or misuse of that service?

    Can the maker of DVD recording equipment be held liable for you or I using that equipment (and/or programs) to distribute copyrighted material. Can ISPs be held liable for any illegal use of their services? And let's push it to its limit: Can gun manufacturers be held liable when the equipment they make i
  • Hasnt he run through everything he made on the Real Networks deal? Certainly his NBA team isn't earning him much. Is this guy investing that well?
  • Yes, shouldn't MGM be suing the end users? That's what everyone says when there's a story of this type on /. Of course when they actually do sue end users, this arguement is conveniently forgotten.
  • by calidoscope (312571) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @06:06PM (#12061857)
    You don't have to look into the future to see how worries of copyright infringement suits stifle technology. Ampex had the capability of making a home use VTR (that's Video Tape Recorder) in the 1970's, but they were concerned about the major studios suing them for promoting copyright infringement. Ampex figured that the Japanese companies had less to lose, since judgements would have been collected from the import arm, not the main corporation.
  • Certain people would like you to believe that because your video file is "digital" that you are able to make a perfect copy of it forever. This is simply not true most of the time.

    Digital data does not degrade the same way that for example, generational VCR-dubbing degrades a signal (four generations is pretty crappy on VCRs), but there are similar gremlins which make it much less bulletproof than popular belief holds.

    Take your average 1 gigabyte video file from the net.

    Once you convert the thing into a
    • Yes, burned CDs suffer from bitrot. But most of the other sources of data loss you mention are either very rare or not applicable. Conversions are usually lossy, but they generally don't need to be performed more than once. If someone wants to download a divx rip of a DVD, the original mpeg2 stream has suffered a lossy recompression, yes, but each subsequent transmission of that divx file doesn't result in more loss. This is in contrast to analog formats -- the act of distribution necessarily introduces

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