Court Backs Programmers in Copyright Case

Jun 27, 2005  •  Post A Comment

In a victory for the programming industry, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in the MGM v. Grokster case that companies that provide Internet file-sharing software can be sued for copyright infringement.

The decision gives Hollywood studios ammunition in their fight to bar consumers from sharing copyrighted material without having to pay, a burgeoning practice that undermines the programming industry’s control over its products.

“This is a huge win for program providers and for those who respect the law of copyright,” said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.

In a statement, however, the watchdog group Public Knowledge said the high court’s decision also holds that the test of copyright liability isn’t the technology alone but whether the provider of file-sharing software “engaged in intentional acts of encouraging infringement.”