Feeds

Grokster, Morpheus face MPAA in appeals court

Want P2Pers to filter out copyright material

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Are P2P companies responsible for the law-breaking actions of their users? That's the question lawyers from the content industry and file-sharing software suppliers Grokster and Morpheus went to court yesterday to argue.

Less than a year ago, the two services prevailed in a lawsuit brought against them by the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA). The two trade bodies alleged that Grokster and Morpheus were indeed complicit in any copyright infringement carried out on the ad-hoc networks supported by their applications.

However, the Court ruled that, like cassette deck manufacturers, the software developers could not be held responsible for illegal file transfers since their code could also be used for perfectly legal file-shares. US District Court Judge Stephen Wilson dismissed the RIAA and MPAA's case.

Last August, the MPAA and RIAA appealed against that ruling, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal opened its hearing yesterday.

In court, the content industry's advocates argued before the Tribunal that Grokster and Morpheus should be forced to incorporate technology that blocks the sharing of copyright material - essentially to turn them into copyright police.

That's not our job, the P2P purveyors' lawyers responded, Reuters reports.

Grokster's attorney, Michael Page, noted that if the two companies are held liable for illegal file-shares, so too would ISPs, CD and DVD burner manufacturers and other software suppliers, too.

Which is, of course, exactly the outcome the content industry wants. Page and fellow attorney Fred Von Lohmann, for Morpheus, believe that the MPAA and co. simply want to shut the P2P companies down. That, the lawyers insist, is not the job of the courts but of the law makers who decide the extent of the copyright regulations.

Judge Wilson's verdict was prompted by Sony's success in a similar case in 1984. Then, the court ruled that the VCR maker was not responsible whenever one of its machines was used to copy a videocassette without the permission of the copyright holder.

What's changed? Appellate Judge John Noonan asked. Russell Frackman, attorney for the MPAA and co., replied that Grokster and Morpheus could incorporate technology to block copyright infringement, something Sony could not have done in the early 1980s.

The case continues. ®

Related Stories

RIAA, MPAA appeal against 'Grokster is legal' ruling
'Golden Age of Free Music' vs 'Copying is Stealing'

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.