Legal Win for P2P Makers

Court rules that they are not liable for user's actions

August 20, 2004 12:00 AM ET
In a unanimous decision Thursday, California's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that distributors of peer-to-peer (P2P) software Grokster and Morpheus, created by StreamCast, cannot be held liable for unauthorized activities of users who download copyrighted material. The ruling is a significant blow to the recording and film industries, whose representatives claim that this technology robs them of billions of dollars annually.

The court's ruling is based on the fact that P2P technology, which allows users to directly share files from their hard drives, has legitimate uses: specifically that it can help artists earn money and exposure. The decision also said that distributors have no control over users' activities on the decentralized networks.

"Today's ruling will ultimately be viewed as a victory for copyright owners," said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney representing the P2P distributors. "The entertainment industry has been fighting new technologies for a century, only to learn again and again that these new technologies create new markets and opportunities. There is no reason to think that file sharing will be any different."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

More Song Stories entries »