Copyright Law & New Technologies: How the Supreme Court's decision in MGM v. Grokster will affect millions of technically savvy Americans - and our modern toys.

<<This result is different from the Napster case, in which the lower courts ruled that the service clearly was in violation of copyright law. "The other piece of good news is that the court did affirm the Sony standard. Under the Sony standard, a creator of new technology that permits copying is not liable if the technology has substantial non-infringing uses. Liability rests on the design and uses of the technology. The lower court held that Grokster and Streamcast are not liable under the Sony standard because of the design of the P2P service permitting non-infringing uses. The Supreme Court, however, concluded that the lower court had misapplied the Sony standard by focusing exclusively on the question of design and not enough on the intent of the creators of Grokster and Streamcast."

Here's where the bad news starts. "The Supreme Court basically created another way for the creator of new technology to be liable for copyright infringement," he says. "If the creator intended to induce copyright infringement, then the creator can also be found liable. To quote the court: '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 by third parties.'"

After today's decision, there are two potential pitfalls for creators of new technology, according to Ghosh. "The first, under Sony, is to create technology that because of its design and uses has primarily infringing uses," he says. "The second, under Grokster, is to create technology with the intent to induce infringement by third parties. The Sony standard focuses on the design of the technology, the Grokster standard on the intent of the creator. Even if the design of technology may have a lot of non-infringing uses—as Grokster and Streamcast allegedly did—the creator of new technology still can be found liable if his purpose in creating the technology was to permit copyright infringement.

In Sony, the court borrowed from the law on contributory infringement in patent law; in Grokster, the court borrowed from patent law's rules about inducement. "In its defense," Ghosh added, [the Grokster] opinion, totaling more than 50 pages in length, did show sensitivity to the arguments about technological innovation that were raised in the litigation. However, the decision also complicates copyright law by creating a new—and questionable—legal standard. Only future cases will tell how this standard will affect P2P and other technologies."

From the University at Buffalo Law School Newspaper, The Opinion

Featured Testimonials

The best part about LawCrossing is the volume of its job database. It has the largest collection of legal jobs.


LawCrossing Fact #117: We offer the largest collection of high-paying jobs out there!

Tysons Corner, VA
Patent Prosecution Partner The candidate should be junior to mid-level partner patent professional ...
Germantown, MD
Patent Attorney The candidate will assist Legal team on a wide range of intellectual property iss...
New Brunswick, NJ
Trademark Copy Review Paralegal Primary Responsibilities: Reviews packaging, websites, advertising ...
Austin, TX
General Counsel The candidate will provide accurate and timely legal guidance to the executive staf...
McKinney, TX
Patent / IP Attorney The candidate should have direct the company's patent, copyright, trademark, d...
Orange, CA
Senior Counsel, Intellectual Property The candidate serves as legal advisor to the company's worldw...



Testimonial of the Week

LawCrossing has the most listings of any job board I have used. It's actually a great site. The website had a lot of detail. It’s nice that you don't have to go through a recruiter if you don't want to. You can actually contact the law firm directly for the positions listed. LawCrossing had a ton of great features.
  • Brian McMillan San Francisco, CA
Job of the Day

Information Technology Attorney / Intellectual Property Attorney in Boston, MA

Boston, MA

Corporate Counsel, Senior IP and Technology Specialist Responsibilities: Negotiating and resolving legal matters rela...

Employer: Iron Mountain, Inc.

Job Search Tip

Use your resume as a networking device. Show it to friends and business associates. Ask them to pass it on as appropriate. Give them extra copies just in case.