Vandaag heeft het Amerikaanse Supreme Court hun langverwachte besluit genomen in de rechtszaak van MGM tegen Grokster en Morpheus. Unaniem vonnisten de rechters in het nadeel van de aanbieders van de p2p bestanduitwisselprogrammatuur (uitspraak in pdf). In lagere instantie achtten de rechters van het 9th Circuit [pdf] nog doorslaggevend dat de p2p-aanbieders geen controle over de gebruikers van het netwerk kunnen uitoefenen (in tegenstelling tot het centraal ingerichte Napster). Maar die verantwoordelijkheid gaat volgens de hoogste rechtbank toch verder:
“We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement. There is no evidence that either company (Grokster or StreamCast) made an effort to filter copyrighted material from users’ downloads or otherwise impede the sharing of copyrighted files (…) Each company showed itself to be aiming to satisfy a known source of demand for copyright infringement, the market comprising former Napster users.” (quote van Solv Advocaten)
Voor een verzameling van de nu driftig aan het duiden slaande Amerikaanse blogosfeer kunt u het beste terecht bij Scotus Blog.
Siva Vaidhayanathan in Salon: “Overall, Monday’s Grokster ruling is a middle-ground decision about a territory that has no middle ground. Souter and the court have issued a Solomon-like decision that will do no good for the plaintiffs, do no harm to infringers — and could have profoundly negative effects on future innovators of technology.”
Mark Cuban: “The MGM Grokster decision wont help the content business make more money. It won’t help artists make more money. This deal gave something to both sides, but it gave the most to lawyers and lobbyists.”
Mike Godwin in Reason: “Until now, the Sony decision provided what lawyers like to call a “bright line” rule for lawful technologies—if your tech was “capable of substantial noninfringing use,” you were home free, or so it was widely thought, and this was true even if some people used your technology for illegal purposes. (..) nothing in this decision called into question the Court’s recognition that the Sony case had allowed two decades of breathing space for technological innovation that included CD and DVD burners, iPods, and TiVos.(..) But the new decision blurs the bright line of Sony. By opening up the question of whether the designer or manufacturer or distributor of a new technology had the “intent” to “induce” infringement—terms that are not yet fully defined in this context—the Court made sure that company e-mails, advertising, and any other evidence may now be discovered in a trial proceeding, even if the technology itself has the potential substantial lawful use. (..) in the near term it will be harder, given the superficial magnitude of its victory in MGM v. Grokster, for the content industries to ask for more legislation to protect them from those awful file-traders, who certainly include some high percentage of the folks reading this column. That’s probably a good thing. It’s also likely that the case itself, now remanded to a lower court for more factfinding, will result in further questions that appeals courts, including perhaps the Supreme Court, will need to answer.”
Samenvatting van verschillende commentaren in hapklare brokken bij Eric Goldman.
Hoogleraar Dirk Visser over de uitspraak bij TROS Radio Online [mp3].