Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Networks to Go Down in Flames

Today the Supreme Court blew P2P file sharing networks out of the water by deciding that the network operators were responsible for the content being traded on their nets. Companies like Napster, who have successfully converted from P2P networks into other business models, are bound to be safe, but everyone else, including BitTorrent had best learn how to duck fast!

The Supreme Court handed movie studios and record labels a sweeping victory against file-swapping, ruling Monday that peer-to-peer companies such as Grokster could be held responsible for the copyright piracy on their networks.

In a unanimous decision, the justices ruled companies that build businesses with the active intent of encouraging copyright infringement should be held liable for their customers’ illegal actions.

“We hold that 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,” Justice David Souter wrote in the majority opinion.

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