P2P Providers Not Liable for Their Users' Copyright Infringement

Type: Brief, News Item
Year: 2004

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appears ruled that P2P providers Grokster and Morpheus are not liable for their users’ copyright infringements. Like the VCR in the Supreme Court’s famous Sony decision, the P2P software is “capable of substantial non-infringing uses,” and, unlike the Napster system, the providers have no control over their users. The Court rejected copyright owners’ please to rewrite established legal standards, asserting that doing so would not only “conflict with binding precedent” but would also “be unwise.” The Court pointed to the history of technological changes that have threatened copyright owners and the ability of markets and Congress to make adjustments over time. An appeal is possible, and, in the meantime, copyright owners are pursuing a legislative change aimed at technology companies called the Induce Act. The Samuelson Clinic filed an amicus brief on behalf of 40 intellectual property and technology law professors supporting the P2P companies.