April 25, 2003
An Unexpected Victory for File-swapping Tools

File-swapping services Streamcast Networks , parent of Morpheus, and Grokster were handed an unexpected victory when Federal Judge Stephen Wilson dismissed much of the case brought against them by the music industry and movie studios.

In an unprecedented decision that reverses many of the previous victories for the record labels and Hollywood studios the court in Los Angeles found that the two companies cannot be held liable for the way the users of their softwares decide to employ the technology.

Wilson, in the opinion released Friday, wrote: "Grokster and StreamCast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights."

John Borland on News.com writes: "The judge's surprise ruling marked the first validation of an argument that file-swapping supporters have been making since Napster's first controversial arrival. Peer-to-peer file-trading is a technology that can be used for activities well beyond copyright infringement, and the technology should not be blocked altogether to stop solely its illegal uses, these backers have said."

But the recording industry and the movie studios are not happy with the decision. A disappointed MPAA spokeswoman said "We feel strongly that those who encourage, facilitate and profit from piracy should be held accountable for actions."

It is well clear that they will appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Will the case make it to the Supreme Court?

Posted by Valentina Pasquali at April 25, 2003 04:31 PM
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