Inducement as Contributory Copyright Infringement: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.

International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 31-46, 2006

17 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2007  

Laura A. Heymann

College of William & Mary - Marshall-Wythe School of Law

Abstract

This brief commentary, published in January 2006, provides an analysis of the Grokster decision. It begins by characterizing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios as conveying two important limitations on secondary liability: a recognition of the difference between knowledge acquired before product distribution and knowledge acquired afterward, and a requirement that this knowledge must relate to the product's design for infringement rather than for copying. It then goes on to describe the Court's inducement-based holding in Grokster and evaluates the two concurrences considering the Sony question sidestepped in the majority opinion, ultimately concluding that Justice Breyer's concurrence, which relies on the important distinction between the distribution of technology generally and the promotion of technology for a particular (infringing) purpose, is more faithful to the values underlying Sony.

Keywords: copyright, infringement, grokster, sony

Suggested Citation

Heymann, Laura A., Inducement as Contributory Copyright Infringement: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.. International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 31-46, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=956192

Laura A. Heymann (Contact Author)

College of William & Mary - Marshall-Wythe School of Law ( email )

613 South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

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