p2p File-Sharing - What the Supreme Court Has an Opportunity to Consider
B.C. Intellectual Property & Technology Forum, No. 032901, 2005
17 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2008
In MGM v. Grokster, over 25 of the world's largest entertainment conglomerates joined together in petitioning the Supreme Court in an effort to shut down (yet another) p2p file sharing site. This case highlights the fault line of copyright in the digital-broadband era: where public use clashes with private control, and the contours of innovation are less clear due to evolving technologies that make us developers, not merely consumers. This case asks to what extent are distributors of a multi-purpose p2p utility liable for the infringing acts of its users - a Sony v. Universal case for the digital age. The entertainment industry characterizes this case as one of the most important copyright cases ever to reach this Court. The makers of this software contend that the software withstands legal challenge, and to hold otherwise plays into the content industry's overstated claim of impending calamity, while it punishes technology, impedes true innovation, and creates a lock-down on culture. This case presents stark choices for the Supreme Court on to how best to promote progress.
Keywords: Supreme Court, MGM, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, Grokster, p2p, entertainment, copyright, digital, broadband, infringment, direct, contributory, vicarious, Sony, software, innovation, progress, Morpheus, Streamcast, napster, gnutella, download, mp3
JEL Classification: K00, K11, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation