MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.

MGM Studios, Inc. V. Grokster, Ltd.

MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.

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MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. 545 U.S. 913 (2005) is a United States Supreme Court decision in which the Court unanimously held that defendant P2P file sharing companies Grokster and Streamcast (maker of Morpheus) could be sued for inducing copyright infringement for acts taken in the course of marketing file sharing software. The plaintiffs were a consortium of 28 of the largest entertainment companies (led by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios).

Prior history

The case is frequently characterized as a re-examination of the issues in Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984), a case that protected VCR manufacturers from liability for contributory infringement. MGM wants makers of file sharing technology held liable for their users' copyright infringements. In Sony, the court held that technology could not be barred if it was "capable of substantial noninfringing uses."

Grokster came before the Supreme Court having already won in two previous courts. The United States District Court for the Central District of California originally dismissed the case in 2003, citing the Betamax decision. Then a higher court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, upheld the lower court's decision after acknowledging that P2P software has legitimate and legal uses. Sharman Networks' Kazaa file sharing program was originally amongst the defendants, but was dropped because the company is based in Vanuatu.

Computer and Internet technology companies such as Intel, and trade...
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