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Supreme Court Prepares To Hear Peer-To-Peer Copyright Case

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

15 December 2004


The US Supreme Court announced last Friday that it will hear a movie industry appeal over a lower court's peer-to-peer file-sharing ruling early next year.

Supporting an initial ruling delivered in April 2003, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals announced in August that file sharing firms such as Grokster, Kazaa and Morpheus cannot be held responsible for the use to which their services are put, so long as they are not directly able to stop the copyright infringing acts in question.

Taking up the gauntlet on behalf of the industry, MGM Studios has filed a petition with the Supreme Court, asking it to reverse the 9th Circuit Court's verdict.

The group is arguing that despite the decentralised structure adopted by the file-sharing firms, and the fact that some of the file-sharing activity taking place on their networks is legitimate, the copyright infringing activities of some users would not be possible without the software that they have made available.

It is anticipated that the case will be heard in March.


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