Home > News > Supreme Court Rules P2P Networks Are Liable • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

Supreme Court Rules P2P Networks Are Liable

Supreme Court Rules P2P Networks Are Liable
Get XBIZ News
Jun 27, 2005 11:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
WASHINGTON – In a blow to peer-to-peer technology providers, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that P2P developers are now legally responsible for the illegal acts of their users.

Favoring the long-held argument of the movie and music industries that P2P providers were enabling copyright infringement on their file-sharing networks, the unanimous court ruling in MGM vs. Grokster determined that distributors of a multi-purpose “tool” or software should be held liable for infringements committed by end-users of that product.

The Supreme Court ruled that there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate unlawful intent on the part of file-sharing services. The case now will find its way back to the lower courts where file-sharing services across the board can be sued for their contributory involvement in infringement cases.

Today’s decision marks the end of a three-year legal battle between the technology and entertainment industries that was originally struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals using the Sony Betamax case, which determined that a new technology’s ability to enable infringement should not outweigh its importance for other, non-infringing uses.

But the music and movie industries took the case all the way to the Supreme Court where Justice David Souter determined that the earlier court decision had misinterpreted the 1984 Sony ruling as saying that any non-infringing use, no matter how minimal, was enough to relieve a company of liability for copyright infringement.

“We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties,” Souter said in the court’s opinion.

Defendants Grokster and Streamcast Networks (parent company of P2P program Morpheus) claimed in their arguments that while many P2P companies are aware that users employ their software primarily to download copyrighted files, the nature of their decentralized networks do not reveal which files are copied and when.

"Today the Supreme Court has unleashed a new era of legal uncertainty on America's innovators," Fred von Lohmann, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said, adding that the decision means that inventors and entrepreneurs will not only bear the costs of bringing new products to market, but also the costs of lawsuits if consumers start using their products for illegal purposes.

The Supreme Court ruling will provide a boost to litigation filed on behalf of movie and record studios against alleged infringers and could even provide legal precedent for any number of cases involving free downloaded music files that compete with pay-and-play services like Apple’s iTunes and other types of digital content delivery.

"Speaking on behalf of the over 27,000 music publishers and songwriters that were represented by the National Music Publishers' Association, we are tremendously gratified by the Court's unanimous decision that peer-to-peer services which promote piracy can be sued,” David Israelite, NMPA president and CEO, said. “Grokster and Streamcast knowingly facilitated piracy on a massive scale.”

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

EDUCATIONAL FEATURES

Understanding 'Camming Sociology' Can Enhance Interactions

After working for six years in the live cam industry as a cam model and almost double the amount of time studying — while working simultaneously — how relationships work in cyberspace, I am... More »

Proper Fisting Techniques for Gentle Stimulation

Does the phrase “anal fisting” make your sphincter clench in terror? Does it seem like an urban legend or an extreme party trick? Most people scoff at the idea of trying it because it sounds... More »

Camming Games, Contests Keep Customers Engaged

Last issue, I talked about the importance of changing up the ambience in a cam model room via new décor and small visual tweaks, to keep viewers engaged long-term. This time, I’d like to discuss... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ World magazine, the industry's leading e-commerce trade publication, delivering in-depth coverage of the online, mobile and ancillary digital markets.

UPCOMING EVENTS

XBIZ Retreat

May 30 - Jun 03
Miami, Florida

XBIZ Miami 2017

May 30 - Jun 02
Miami, Florida

XShow 18+ 2017

Jun 01 - Jun 03
Moscow, Russia

Cam Summit

Jun 02 - Jun 04
Lloret de Mar, Spain
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!