MPAA Takes Grokster to Supremes


The Motion Picture Association of America has asked the Supreme Court to review the D.C. Circuit Court's decision that found file sharing over so-called peer-to-peer networks did not constitute copyright infringement.

Hollywood has made protecting its intellectual property from digital piracy a priority. "What if millions of people a day were entering other peoples' homes and stealing property in the U.S.?," asked new MPAA President Dan Glickman in announcing the move.

"How would citizens react? The fact is, every day copyrights are violated in similarly massive proportions over peer-to-peer networks such as Grokster and StreamCast. These companies have expressly designed their businesses to avoid all legal liability, with the full knowledge that over 90% of the material traversing their applications belongs to someone else.  Now is the time for the courts to review these businesses that depend upon violation of copyright."

On a separate track, MPAA has been pushing for legislation targeting secondary copyright liability--the people who produce the equipment and software that pirates use, with various bills in various states of flux at press time.

Commenting on the petition, Gigi Sohn, President of fair use fans Public Knowledge, said: "There is no reason the Supreme Court should review the /Grokster/ decision. That case was based on the principles established in the 1984 /Betamax/ case, which has lead to the largest and most profitable period of technological innovation in this country’s history. Consumers, industry and our country have all benefited as a result."