Feeds

RIAA, MPAA appeal against ‘Grokster is legal’ ruling

Precedent schmecedent

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

The Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) has launched its appeal against an April US District Court ruling that the Grokster P2P media-sharing network does not infringe copyrights juts because its software may allow users to do so.

The appeal, filed on Monday with the Los Angeles District Court, is backed by the movie business' bruiser, the Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA), and the National Music Publishers' Association.

On 25 April, US District Court Judge Stephen Wilson dismissed joint action brought by the RIAA, MPAA and NMPA against Grokster and Streamcast, owner of the Morpheus P2P service. Judge Wilson essentially ruled that, like the providers of cassette decks and CD-R units, neither P2P service could be held responsible for any infringement of copyright performed by their users. Just like said consumer electronics recording kit, Grokster and Morpheus have legitimate uses, Wilson said.

Wilson's decision was backed by case law, primarily Universal's failed attempt to block the sale of Sony video recording products, and CBS records action against UK cassette recording kit maker Amstrad, both in the 1980s.

However, the three industry associations want that ruling overturned, and have asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse Judge Wilson's verdict.

Their argument is that the companies behind Grokster and Morpheus both make money out of encouraging users to share music and movies illegally. Both services are paid for by advertising, and by providing ad-free versions of their sharing software at a price.

But just because they are providing software, they're no different from Sony et al. who sell Hi-Fi equipment or PC peripherals that allow CDs to be copied, directly or via by cabling playback and recording devices together.

Ironically, Grokster CEO Wayne Rosso told The Register last week that he has sought licences from the major labels represented by the RIAA to build a music sharing network not unlike the Apple iTunes Music Store model. Apple allows single tracks to be bought, burned and shared locally for a small, one-off fee. Rosso says the labels have refused his request.

Rosso has asked the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate the labels' refusal, claiming it is an example of anti-competitive behaviour on their part. He also plans to take the issue to the European Commission's anti-trust team, he told The Register.

Rosso's opposite number at Streamcast, Michael Weiss, responded to the new RIAA, MPAA and NMPA action by re-affirming Judge Wilson's initial verdict and promised to take the case to a higher court if necessary.

"We expect to prevail and if we do not, we will take this to the Supreme Court if we must," he said.

Weiss himself has proposed solutions to the music and movie industries' beef with the P2P community: compulsory royalties like those paid by broadcasters or even levies on recording media which would be passed on to artists. Such taxes are levied in many European countries. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.