In a victory for the entertainment industry, a federal judge has ruled
that the Morpheus file-sharing software encourages millions of users
to share music, movies and other works without authorization.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled on Wednesday that StreamCast
Networks Inc., the distributor of Morpheus, had contributed to massive
copyright infringement because it had constructed a business model
that relied on massive copyright infringement and did not attempt to
block the trading of copyrighted materials.
The case, pitting Hollywood movie studios, record companies and music
publishers against StreamCast and similar firms, dated back to 2001.
Last year, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, ruling that
some technology firms could be held liable for distributing software
used to violate copyrights.
StreamCast, based in Woodland Hills, California, said it was
considering an appeal and maintained that it did not encourage users
to infringe on copyrighted works and never intended to do so.
"The court's ruling is disappointing. StreamCast will consider its
options, including appealing the decision," the company said in a
"Morpheus is an innovative, multiuse program with legal uses that are
overwhelming. In the meantime, Morpheus will continue to discourage
users from infringing upon copyrighted works," the company said.
StreamCast was the only file-sharing company that continued fighting
after the Supreme Court ruling.
"This is an especially gratifying marker in the continuing
transformation of the online music marketplace," said Mitch Bainwol,
chairman and chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of
America, the trade group for major record companies like Warner Music
Group and Vivendi's Universal Music Group.
"No single court ruling solves piracy or can make up for several
challenging years for the music community, but there's no doubt that
this particularly important decision means that the rules of the road
for online music are better today than they were yesterday," he said.
Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.
NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at
http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra/more-news.html . Hundreds of new
articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at
For more news and headlines, please go to:
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You know, if Hollywood and the
entertainment industry are going to go after _every possible_ way
of copying files simply to protect their precious movies and music
from _possibly being copied_ 'illegally', then why have they not
yet started hassling the writers of FTP and its later, more modern
variations? How much longer will we be 'allowed' to use FTP to
copy legitimate files? Really the question should be, how much
longer will Hollywood and entertainment/music be allowed to hang
around on the net, dictating the terms to the rest of us? PAT]