In the long-awaited judgment on the use of file-sharing technologies (MGM Studios v. Grokster, et al., 04-480), the Supreme Court ruled unanimously June 27 that developers of P2P-type software violate federal copyright law when they provide computer users with the means to share music and movie files downloaded from the Internet.
In a decision announced by Justice David H. Souter, the court said: "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties."
The ruling was a sweeping victory for music recording companies and movie studios. It sets the stage for a major legal assault on the software designers such as Grokster and StreamCast.
For more information, visit www.grokster.com.