CHICAGO, June 28 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The Supreme Court today issued its opinion in the high-profile, peer-to-peer file-swapping case, Metro-Goldwyn-
Mayer Studios, Inc. et. al. v. Grokster, Ltd., et al.
“The Supreme Court’s decision involves peer-to-peer file sharing
providers, but it will have much broader implications in the technology
industry,” says Joseph V. Norvell, Chair, Copyright Practice Group of Brinks,
Hofer, Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in
the U.S. “Technology companies, including hardware manufacturers, software
companies and data transfer providers, will need to review their products and
policies to ensure that they are not exposed to potential liability for
“This is a tightening of the 1984 Sony Betamax case, where the Supreme
Court held that sellers of VCRs were not liable for users’ copyright
infringement where there is a substantial non-infringing use of their
product,” continued Norvell. (See Sony Corp. v. Universal Studios Inc., 464
U.S. 417 (1984).) “Today, the Supreme Court clarified that, even when there
is evidence of a substantial non-infringing use, where evidence shows
statements or actions that promote infringement, liability may be found.”
“Critics will see this decision as likely to stifle the innovation
permitted by the Sony Betamax decision, and you may also see technology
companies appealing to Capitol Hill for clarification of the copyright laws to
ensure they are insulated from liability,” said Norvell.
The Grokster lawsuit involved Internet file-sharing, but the Court’s
decision impacts the delicate balance between copyright interests and
technological providers that has existed over the past twenty years.
Specifically at issue was whether distributors of file-sharing software, such
as Grokster, could be held responsible for the copyright infringements
committed by users of their programs. Now, according to the Supreme Court,
Mr. Norvell is available for interviews in reaction to the decision and
can be reached at 312-321-4712 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1917, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione is based in Chicago with four
other offices across the country and serves the intellectual property needs of
clients from around the world. The firm is one of the largest IP law firms in
the country, with approximately 150 attorneys who specialize in intellectual
property litigation and all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright, trade
secret and Internet work, unfair competition, and technology and licensing
agreements. Visit the firm online at http://www.USEBRINKS.com .
Contact: Sydney Iglitzen