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November 8, 2004
The Grokster Case - Once More Into the Breach, Dear Friends
StreamCast and Grokster have just filed a joint brief [PDF] asking the Supreme Court to leave standing the landmark Ninth Circuit ruling [PDF] that the two peer-to-peer software distributors are not liable for copyright violations by the people who use their software. At stake in the case is the continued vitality of the Betamax doctrine -- what Fred von Lohmann calls the "Magna Carta of the technology industry" because it "makes it clear that innovators need not fear ruinous litigation from the entertainment industry so long as their inventions are 'merely capable of substantial noninfringing uses.'"
The primary arguments are 1.) the Ninth Circuit ruled correctly in light of Betamax, 2.) it ruled consistently with other P2P decisions in federal courts, and 3.) if copyright law needs to be adjusted in light of P2P, that task properly falls to Congress.
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