Inducement as Contributory Copyright Infringement: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.
Laura A. Heymann
College of William & Mary - Marshall-Wythe School of Law
International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 31-46, 2006
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: copyright, infringement, grokster, sony
Date posted: January 11, 2007