Major international rights owners urge U.S. Supreme Court to reverse Grokster decision
January 25, 2005
Eight major international trade associations, representing hundreds of thousands of copyright and other rights owners in more than 100 countries outside the United States of America filed a 'friend of the court' brief yesterday, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the court of appeals' decision in the Grokster file-sharing case.
These organisations argue that the lower court's decision not only affects U.S. rights owners, but also denies international rights owners effective protection in the U.S. against copyright infringement on a 'massive and unprecedented scale'. This puts the United States in breach of its obligations under international treaties which require enforcement measures that are effective in deterring and preventing piracy.
Unless reversed, the court of appeals decision sets bad precedent not only in the U.S. but elsewhere, and risks making the U.S. a piracy haven from which infringing copies of protected material spill over the border via the internet to hurt rights owners in other countries.
The international trade associations filing this 'friend of the court' brief represent record companies, producers and distributors; music and literary publishers; composers and authors of a variety of protected works; rights societies; film producers; performers; and video publishers.
The Supreme Court will hear the appeal by the U.S. plaintiff record companies, film studios and music publishers who brought the case later this spring.
International Rights Owners' Associations filing amicus brief
The associations filing friends of the court brief include music authors, publishers and rights societies BIEM, CISAC, and ICMP; international actors' federation FIA; international film producers' association FIAPF; the international publishers' association IPA; the international recording industry association IFPI; and the international video federation IVF.
Background for Editors
The US Supreme Court agreed on December 10 to hear the appeal of the Grokster file-sharing case; MGM, Inc. vs Grokster, Ltd., brought by the major record companies, motion picture studios and National Music Publishers' Association of America.
The decision means a review of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in San Francisco on August 19. The lower courts in MGM, Inc. vs Grokster, Ltd., found that two distributors of peer-to-peer software could not be held liable for users' copyright infringements, even if they clearly knew that people were using their software to infringe copyrights, intentionally structured their businesses to avoid liability, and benefited financially from the 'illicit draw of their wares'.
Copyright owners filed a petition for a Supreme Court review on October 8. The Recording Industry of America (RIAA) and international organisations representing hundreds of thousands of copyright holders, forty state attorneys general and other interested parties in more than 100 countries then filed 'friend of the court' briefs on November 6 urging a review of the decision.
For further information please contact Adrian Strain, Fiona Harley or Julie Harari at IFPI Communications on tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7900
Go to www.riaa.com for the Recording Industry Association of America statement.