Grokster Is Gone
From the Grokster home page:
The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal. Copying copyrighted motion picture and music files using unauthorized peer-to-peer services is illegal and is prosecuted by copyright owners. There are legal services for downloading music and movies. This service is not one of them.
Actually, this characterization is wildly inaccurate. In MGM v. Grokster, the Supreme Court held that any party who distributes a device intending to promote copyright infringement can be held liable for third parties’ actions, even if the device has lawful uses. The Court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s judgment in Grokster’s favor, and sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit for further proceedings. Grokster had sought to have the case dismissed before a federal district court trial; the Supreme Court’s decision in June effectively said that Grokster’s motion for summary judgment would be denied, and that the case should be litigated.
Of course, this is not the interpretation one gets from the message on the Grokster home page, and that is because Big Content now controls the Grokster Web site. And Big Content controls the Grokster Web site because Grokster has settled the case with two divisions of Big Content. (Post-settlement, Grokster’s home page now includes links to the Big Movie and Big Music “informational” Web sites about copyright.)
What remains to be determined is whether Streamcast, a co-defendant with Grokster, also will settle the pending lawsuit it is defending from Big Content. The public relations spin that appears on the Grokster home page does not mention Streamcast.
Dawn C. Chmielewski. Grokster Shut Down, Plans Legal Service. MercuryNews.com. Nov. 8, 2005.
Matthai Chakko Kuruvila. Hollywood Breathes Sigh of Relief over Grokster’s Demise, Settlement. MercuryNews.com. Nov. 8, 2005.
Supreme Court of the United States. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. (.pdf) June 27, 2005.
EFF Deep Links. Remedying Grokster. July 25, 2005.
CopyCense™: K. Matthew Dames on the intersection of business, law and technology. A business venture of Seso Digital LLC.