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MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.

MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.

The
copyright infringement case of MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. was filed in
2003 by MGM, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., a total of 28 other entertainment
companies, against Grokster and Steamcast.  Grokster and Steamcast were
Internet companies that offered peer-to-peer file sharing.  Peer-to-peer
file sharing, otherwise known as P2P file sharing, is the act of sharing stored
digital information, such as movies, music, documents, and electronic
books.  This particular movie copyright suit was filed due to the fact
that a large number of the files that were being shared on these websites were
copyrighted material, some of which belonged to MGM and the other listed
entertainment companies.

In response to the copyright infringement case,
Grokster argued that if the movie copyright suit were to be found in favor of
the plaintiff, this would create the potential grounds for movie copyright
organizations to seek damages in a number of previous acts believed to be
related to peer-to-peer file sharing and copyright infringement.  With
this not being the first filed copyright infringement case that Grokster was
named in on behalf of MGM, there was a great deal at stake as to what the final
decision would forecast for future movie copyright regulations. 

The
copyright infringement case was originally filed by MGM, along with the 28
entertainment companies, in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California.  The copyright infringement case was dismissed in
2003, due to its parallels to the Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios movie copyright
case, and its final verdict.  In the Sony Corp v. Universal City Studios
copyright infringement case, the court had to reach a decision as to the
regulation of the VCR. 

Movie
copyright lawmakers had to decide whether or not VCR manufacturers would be responsible
for the actions of consumers that used their product on the basis of potential
copyright infringement.  In the copyright infringement case of Sony Corp.
v. Universal City Studios, the final verdict by the Supreme Court of the United
States concluded that the function of VCR recording for individual use executed
a person’s right to fair use.

The copyright infringement case of MGM Studios,
Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., was then filed by MGM to the United States Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  This second installment of the movie
copyright case was dismissed on the basis of the notion that P2P file sharing
is a method that is lawfully binding.  Nevertheless, it was in 2005 that
the United States Supreme Court made the final ruling on the copyright infringement
case, declaring that Grokster, Ltd. and Steamcast were liable for their
involvement in the P2P file sharing being conducted on their networking
sites. 

The basis
for the final Supreme Court ruling in the MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.
copyright infringement case was that the court saw the defendants’ actions as a
copyright infringement by specifically promoting such practice and capability
to consumers.

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