Monday, March 20, 2006

Grokster [The Decision]

Basically, the Court held that when there is intent for users to infringe, the software provider is in deep doo-doo. I was sad to see the Court avoid the Sony decision, but Breyer's concurring opinion does a good job of explaining why we should leave the Sony decision alone (as much as possible).
The two different concurring opinions are interesting. Ginsberg, Rehnquist, and Kennedy all seem to think that a re-interpretation of Sony may be in order. This concurrence states: "If, on remand, the case is not resolved on summary judgment in favor of MGM based on Grokster and StreamCast actively inducing infringement, the Court of Appeals, I would emphasize, should reconsider, on a fuller record, its interpretation of Sony's product distribution holding."
Breyer, Stevens, and O'Connor seem to focus on the development of technology. Their concurrence points out the factual similarities with Sony and nearly admits that the software is a staple article of commerce. They still come down on the side of the music industry. However, they appear to limit the holding to cases where the entity "actively seeks to advance the infringement."

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