Fred Von Lohmann, Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), was quoted as saying “MGM v. Grokster is about whether copyright owners have the right to veto new technologies and stifle innovation … Innovators have a great deal at stake in the conflict over peer-to-peer (P2P) software.”
EFF represents defendant Streamcast, maker of Morpheus P2P software, in the Grokster litigation. EFF contends that Streamcast has no control over the Gnutella Network, Morpheus has significant non-infringing uses (“BetaMax Defense”), and the copyright owner’s monopoly, which is statutory in nature, should not be judicially extended to areas not contemplated by Congress or specifically addressed in the DMCA.
If the Court strictly construes the language of the DMCA, which is silent with respect to Morpheus type technologies, the BetaMax Defense would be precedent and should be applied. Either way, it is likely the decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court of the U.S., which has not visited this issue since its landmark decision in the BetaMax litigation.
MGM Studios v. Grokster (case numbers 03-55894, 03-55901, and 03-56236)
1:30 pm on Tuesday, February 3, 2004
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 125 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105, Courtroom 3
Hon. Robert Boochever, Hon. John Noonan, Hon. Sydney Thomas