Los Angeles, CA - A federal judge ruled today that companies providing peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing software cannot be held liable for copyright infringement by users of the software.
The ruling is a striking victory for the makers of the Morpheus and Grokster software products. In the court's words:
"Grokster and Streamcast [the company that provides Morpheus software] 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."
"We believe the Morpheus case is about technology, not piracy, and today the court agreed, making it clear that technology companies are not responsible for every misuse of the tools they make," noted Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Today's ruling reaffirms the Supreme Court's landmark decision in the Sony Betamax case."
EFF represents Streamcast in the case.
"Hollywood sought to control what innovators can make available to consumers," added EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "This ruling makes clear that technology companies can provide general purpose tools without fear of copyright liability."
"Over 61 million Americans use peer-to-peer systems -- more than voted for our President," added EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "It's time we found a way to ensure that artists get paid without killing off this tremendous new technology."
For this release:
For the decision:
http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/030425_order_on_motions.pdf [PDF 88k]