For this release:Ninth Circuit Declares Grokster, Morpheus Not Liable for
Pasedena, CA - Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made
a crucial decision in support of technology innovators by
declaring that distributors of the peer-to-peer software
Grokster and Morpheus cannot be held liable for the
infringing activities of their users. The Electronic
Frontier Foundation argued on behalf of Streamcast, the
creators of the Morpheus software, in a case that pitted
dozens of entertainment conglomerates against two small
The Ninth Circuit decision is based in part on the fact
that P2P networks have significant non-infringing uses, and
that they can help artists earn money. The ruling is
similar to the Supreme Court's decision in the 1984 Betamax
case, which determined that Sony was not liable for
copyright violations by users of the Betamax VCR.
"Today's ruling will ultimately be viewed as a victory for
copyright owners. As the court recognized today, 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," said
EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann.
"There is no reason to think that file sharing will be any
The court's decision was unanimous.
"This is a victory for innovators of all stripes," added
von Lohmann. "The court's ruling makes it clear that
innovators need not beg permission from record labels and
Hollywood before they deploy exciting new technologies."
It is likely that the entertainment companies will appeal
the Ninth Circuit's decision to the Supreme Court.