Feeds

Grokster, Morpheus face MPAA in appeals court

Want P2Pers to filter out copyright material

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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'

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.