Supreme Court Sets Standard For Inducement for Copyright Infringement

In MGM Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 125 S. Ct. 2764, 162 L. Ed. 2d 781, 75 USPQ2d 1001 (U.S. 2005), the Supreme Court found defendant Grokster for inducement to infringe copyrights without regard to whether Grokster’s technology allows for substantial non-infringing uses.  Grokster distributes free software that allows computer users to share electronic files through peer-to-peer networks.  Unlike Napster, where one server has references items available, Grokster uses no central servers.  While the resulting peer to peer networks can be used to share any type of digital file, there was evidence that Grokster’s software was mostly used to share copyrighted music and video files.  Additionally, there was evidence that Grokster marketed itself as not reachable by copyright as was Napster.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and other studios own infringed copies found on the peer-to-peer network created by Grokster’s software.  MGM sued Grokster alleging that Grokster knowingly and intentionally distributed their software to enable users to infringe copyrighted works in violation of the Copyright Act. Continue reading