In June 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the decision in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster Ltd., a case that asked whether peer-to-peer networks may be held liable for facilitating the illegal distribution of music over the internet. The music industry petitioned the Supreme Court to settle the disagreement between the circuit courts over the standard of liability for aiding in copyright infringement. The case was based on a clash between the protection of technological innovation and the protection of artistic works. This iBrief examines the circuit split and the Grokster opinion and discusses the questions of liability left unresolved by the Supreme Court. It argues that further clarification of the Sony rule is still needed in order to encourage the proliferation of legitimate peer-to-peer networks by protecting their services while discouraging illegitimate file-sharing activities.
Christine Pope, Unfinished Business: Are Today’s P2P Networks Liable for Copyright Infringement?, 4 Duke Law & Technology Review 1-15 (2005)