Trade groups, Congressional leaders and other interested parties offer early responses.
Bo Andersen, president of the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA)
"VSDA is gratified that the Supreme Court has cleared the way for those who intentionally facilitate and profit from illegal online file swapping to be held legally liable for their malfeasance, and has done so in a way that leaves ample room for technological and business innovation.
"The Court got it right: those who proactively induce others to steal cannot escape liability.
"While the Supreme Court's recognition of inducement liability is a positive development that will be useful in stemming the online theft of movies, VSDA is under no illusion that this decision alone will solve the problem of illegal online file swapping. The real antidote lies in reducing demand for illegal copies of movies by making it easier for consumers to get legal copies of movies online. Retailers, who know their customers and their communities better than anyone else, have an important future in developing hundreds, even thousands, of legal services for delivering movies.
"The Supreme Court has provided guidance that allows for innovation and promotes competition but makes it clear that there is a right way and a wrong way to compete."
VSDA actively supported the effort to ensure that Grokster and StreamCast not escape liability as the MGM Studios v. Grokster case made its way through the courts.
Marilyn Bergman, president and chairman of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
"I applaud the unanimous Supreme Court decision in MGM Studios vs. Grokster. It sends a clear message that P2P enterprises like Grokster and Kazaa cannot use the intellectual property of songwriters, composers and other copyright owners as start-up capital for their businesses. The P2P business model relies on the use of our music, as well as movies and other creative works, without permission or payment to the creators and copyright owners, and therefore is outright theft. On behalf of the over 210,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members of ASCAP, I hope that the decision will strengthen the public understanding and respect for the rights of America's creators to make a living from their work, which so enriches our nation and the world."
Rep. Howard L. Berman. D-Cal., the ranking
Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property
"That this is a unanimous decision speaks volumes to what we all know is true: stealing is stealing. The culture which allowed a business to rely on theft has robbed our creative community.
"Today's ruling is a victory for American innovation. It helps assure that artists will continue to thrive and create the music and movies we love. Technology and the Internet win, too, because this decision will propel opportunities for legitimate music and movie distribution services."
Statement of Congresswoman Bono (CA-45) and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Statement on the Supreme Court Ruling in the MGM v. Grokster Case
"We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court's (9-0) decision in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. case protects the innovative and copyrighted works of our nation's creative community. This decision supports our U.S. industries that employ more than five million Americans and produce one of our top exports: intellectual property, including motion pictures and music. Furthermore, it is a strong repudiation of the rapid proliferation of copyright piracy on the internet.
Over 90% of the use of Grokster software is for infringement purposes. Therefore, this decision prevents the legitimization of peer-to-peer file sharing software programs such as Grokster, that encourage and facilitate the illegal sharing of copyrighted works. This activity subverts not only our economy, but also the creative community, such as songwriters, musicians, screen writers and other artists who drive American creative and artistic innovation.
Clearly, technological advancements have fostered the enjoyment of these creative works. There can be a future for peer-to-peer networks as long as they uphold copyright protections. However, while we have a healthy debate on how to reconcile intellectual property laws in the face of new technologies, our government first must protect intellectual property rights. As we move into the digital marketplace, it is incumbent upon the courts and policymakers to demonstrate that they can and will protect intellectual property rights now and in the future. Therefore, we strongly support the decision of the Supreme Court in this case. We are hopeful that this decision will ensure that any further litigation proceeds with the goal of ending this infringing activity."
Congresswoman Mary Bono and Congressman Steny Hoyer are the co- founders and co-chairs of the Recording Arts and Sciences Caucus.
Statement from Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group (NYSE:WMG)
"The most important message from today's historic decision is that progress and innovation do not have to come at the expense of recording artists, songwriters and the people who make their living in the entertainment industry. As a music company, we fully understand that our ultimate success lies not in preventing people from getting what they want but in providing it to them in new and exciting ways. We must strike a balance, one that nurtures technological innovation while at the same time protecting the very content that inspires innovation in the first place. We're grateful that the Supreme Court today unanimously agreed that distributors of software intended to promote copyright infringement are liable for the infringements committed by the users of such software. This important decision will allow artists and the creative community to prosper side-by-side with the technology industry."
Pat Collins, SESAC president/COO
“SESAC applauds this important decision from the Supreme Court. We stand with the Music United Coalition and all those who understand and respect the inherent importance of copyrights in our culture. Coming from the nation’s highest court, the Grokster ruling sends a clear message to illegal downloaders and those who would provide them the means to obtain copyrighted material free of charge. Music is not free; songwriters and publishers must be compensated for their work."
Representative John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee
"This decision is victory for creators of content and consumers. It is clear that those who encourage content theft are responsible for their conduct even if they themselves are not stealing. With this ruling, creators will be encouraged to take advantage of the digital marketplace and provide consumers with even more digital content."
John Cornyn, United States Senator - Texas
"Those who facilitate theft often are just as guilty as the thieves themselves"
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee's Intellectual Property subcommittee, made the following statement Monday regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in MGM v. Grokster:
"Today, the Supreme Court reinforced the principle that those who facilitate theft often are just as guilty as the thieves themselves.
"Every day, literally millions of dollars in copyrighted works are stolen via online services. This theft is no less wrong because it is carried out in cyberspace - rather, potentially worse than common shoplifting, it is putting thousands of Americans out of work and is damaging one of the most important and vibrant sectors of the United States economy. Unfortunately, the services that facilitate much illegal online file sharing have been designed to encourage just that type of behavior."
"When the founding fathers put the protection of intellectual property in the Constitution, they recognized the unique and unlimited creativity of the American people and the impact American innovators would have on the world in the areas of art and technology."
"Today's decision by the Supreme Court is an affirmation of those Constitutional principles and should be commended."
Sen. Cornyn is a member of the Judiciary Committee's Intellectual Property subcommittee and the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus. He served previously as Texas Supreme Court Justice, Texas Attorney General, and Bexar County District Judge.
"This is a question of balancing the rights of creators with current technology. Unauthorized P2P systems are clearly inducing infringement by the users - those systems need to be held accountable. They can and should incorporate filters to prevent the illegal downloading of copyrighted material and until such time as they do, Grokster and similar, competitive systems should be held liable for the infringement and damage they are doing to the creative community and the public-at-large."
Jim Donio, president of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM)
"The Supreme Court's unanimous Grokster decision is unequivocal in holding that businesses cannot knowingly build a foundation for their enterprise based on promoting and encouraging the theft of intellectual property," said NARM President Jim Donio. "It is also extremely important to note that by preserving the Sony Betamax decision, the Court is ensuring technological innovations that will lawfully bring more entertainment to more consumers can continue to develop and flourish."
Legendary Songwriter Lamont Dozier
"I'm so pleased that the Court unanimously supported the rights of those that work to create, promote, and legally distribute music. I have worked hard all my life to make a living creating music that people love, and this decision creates a firm foundation for the next generation of songwriters to flourish. Everyone that truly loves music should be happy with this decision."
Legendary songwriter Lamont Dozier was one of the named plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that the NMPA brought on behalf of over 27,000 music publishers and songwriters against Grokster and Streamcast.
Representative Bob Goodlatte
The following is a statement from Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Vice-Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Internet Caucus and Chairman of the House Republican High Tech Working Group:
"Today's decision in the Grokster case clearly signals to authors and performers that the Court intends to enforce their intellectual property rights. The more confident authors and performers are that their rights will be enforced online, the more authors and performers will be willing to offer their works over the Internet, which will ensure that more innovative products and services, including new technologies to deliver these works, will be available to consumers."
Dan Glickman president/CEO of MPAA
"Today's unanimous ruling is an historic victory for intellectual property in the digital age, and is good news for consumers, artists, innovation and lawful Internet businesses.
"The Supreme Court sent a strong and clear message that businesses based on theft should not and will not be allowed to flourish.
"This decision will be of utmost importance as we continue developing innovative and legitimate ways to marry content and technology so consumers can access entertainment on a variety of devices.
"Protecting intellectual property rights and aggressively combating copyright theft will keep an engine of economic growth and job creation thriving; promote innovation; strengthen legitimate businesses that unite technology and content in innovative and legal ways; and ensure a future of quality and choice for consumers in the United States and around the world."
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
"I am pleased that the Supreme Court has considered this important case and determined that those who intentionally induce or encourage the theft of copyrighted music, movies, software, or other protected works may be held liable for their actions. As the Solicitor General argued in this case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had created a standard that was unduly narrow and prevented victims from bringing civil court cases even on the assumption that companies have actively induced others to violate federal copyright laws on a massive scale. The Department of Justice remains strongly committed to the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and we will continue to support the ability of victims of intellectual property theft to pursue remedies for infringement in the civil courts."
Senator Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate
Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Intellectual Property
"Authors, artists and producers can breathe a little easier
today knowing their works are a little safer. The Supreme Court today unanimously affirmed what I have thought since improper online filesharing became such a widespread phenomenon: those that distribute products to help people steal copyrighted material can be held responsible under the law.
"The Court concluded that an intentional inducement rule makes sense: The inducement rule ... premises liability on purposeful, culpable, expression and conduct, and thus does nothing to compromise legitimate commerce or discouraging innovation having a lawful [purpose].
"Today's unanimous decision should come as no surprise. Our
Founding Fathers recognized the need for protecting and encouraging artistic and technological innovation and wrote it right into the Constitution."
Don Henley, president and co-founder of RAC (Recording Artists Coalition).
"By ruling against Grokster, the Supreme Court has vindicated the rights of artists, songwriters, and copyright owners. There is no more important case for the future of our business. These unauthorized P2P systems promote copyright infringement on an unprecedented scale. They make millions of dollars in advertising, but pay the artists nothing."
John Kennedy, Chairman and CEO IFPI
"This is a landmark decision, the most important judgement involving the music industry in 20 years. It quite simply destroys the argument that peer-to-peer services bear no responsibility for illegal activities that take place on their networks. The US Supreme Court has ruled, clearly and unequivocally, that technology distributors cannot build a business by promoting copyright infringement. And, in doing so, the Court has given a boost to the development of the legitimate on-line market and the millions of creators and investors, artists and producers working within it, not only in the US but worldwide."
Gregory Kerber, chairman and CEO of Wurld Media
"Today's ruling is terrific news for artists and copyright holders who want to harness the tremendous marketing potential of the Web while protecting their artistic rights.
"With an increasing variety of ways to access content online, today's decision is also good news for consumers. The ruling removes a roadblock that has hampered the widespread development of legitimate online music models. In the coming months, consumers will benefit from new business models that will make more content available online that is easily accessible, of high quality, and free of viruses and other unexpected web-based dangers.
"As the leader in legitimate peer-to-peer network development, and the only P2P to have licensed all major and many of the independent record labels, Wurld Media is an example of this new breed of companies that has found a way to offer consumers access to online music while respecting the rights of artists and copyright holders. Hopefully, today's decision will clarify the business landscape and allow us all to move forward."
Andrew Lack, CEO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment
"We will no longer have to compete with thieves in the night whose businesses are built on larceny. Today’s unanimous decision is a resounding victory for both creative content industries and technologists who together are trying to develop legitimate businesses on the Internet."
Reaction of Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.,
Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee
"I have keenly followed, welcomed and championed advances in technology that have opened new opportunities to enjoy music, video, books and other creative works. Technology is a tool, and when it’s abused, it hurts everyone. It is important to maintain respect for the intellectual property rights of those who create the works that we want to foster and enjoy.
"This decision means that companies can no longer, with a wink and a nod, absolve themselves from any responsibility for what their products do. Just as consumers bear a responsibility for using these products to illegally download files, the companies that fashion and promote these tools must share in that obligation.
"This decision is critical to ensuring that copyright owners will have the ability to protect their works in the digital world. By holding that companies that facilitate massive copyright infringement can be held liable if the facts warrant, the Court has affirmed longstanding interpretations of the Copyright Act. Where companies exist primarily to facilitate copyright infringement, the law, as enacted by Congress and now interpreted by the Court, gives copyright owners the tools to stop them.
"I have long been concerned with those companies whose business models are based on theft, and particularly those that induce others to steal, while they reap the financial benefit of that thievery. Copyrights deserve better protection, technologies deserve better uses, and consumers deserve the benefits that will come from a wide array of legal, efficient, and inexpensive distribution systems for a wide variety of content.
"In interpreting the statute as it did, the Court has crafted an opinion that respects both the protection of copyrights and the need to foster innovation. We hope that the decision will ensure that companies in the future will show proper respect for copyright and not base business plans on the unlawful uploading and downloading of copyrighted works without permission."
Alain Levy, Chairman and CEO, EMI Music
"The Supreme Court has handed down a unanimous and strong decision that will help unlock the enormous potential of the legal online marketplace. The Court's message couldn't have been clearer - businesses based on infringement are not protected under the law. This is a major win for the creative community, for those companies committed to building legitimate businesses and for law-abiding consumers."
"EMI will continue to support the development of legitimate p2p networks, subscriptions services, a la carte download sites and mobile services to ensure that consumers can have legal access to our music wherever, whenever and however they want to. We will also continue working with the technology industry to push the limits of what's possible for delivering music to consumers in new and exciting ways. With today's decision, the best is yet to come."
"This Supreme Court decision represents critically important progress in the creative community's fight against piracy. EMI and our counterparts in the music industry will persist in the aggressive pursuit of businesses and individuals who engage in or facilitate the mass theft of copyrighted works. In addition to advancing innovative legitimate digital music services, EMI is committed to providing the necessary resources to protect our artists' intellectual property, including the funding of consumer education programs, the deployment of technological measures and the lobbying of government agencies worldwide. The message is clear: There is no justification for stealing music when so many legal choices exist."
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks
"We're really glad that the Supreme Court ruled the way they did. Anything that makes it easier for our fans to access legitimate sources of music is a good thing."
Neil Portnow, President of The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (The Recording Academy) represents 17,000 musicians, composers, artists, engineers, producers and songwriters and is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for music and its makers.
"Today is a good day for music fans and the 17,000 musicians, composers, artists, engineers, producers and songwriters that are the members of the Recording Academy. By unanimously upholding the rights of creators, the Supreme Court has defended an environment for legal online music services to thrive.
As the National Academy of Recording Arts AND Sciences, our membership embraces new technologies that deliver their music to fans in innovative ways. The court is forging the way for the legal digital services - those that compensate the creative professionals - to enable music fans to hear their favorite artists wherever, whenever and however they want.
The opinion also sends a strong message in defense of copyright protection, defending artists' rights to create and to profit from their works within a safe and supportive system, while also making sure those rights are taken into consideration as technology continues to evolve.
Previously The Recording Academy submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the creative community, which depends on sales of its works to earn a living. We thank the Court for its insight into this important case and for the protection of music makers. The Academy will continue to defend its members' rights wherever and whenever necessary."
"Artists are not against technology. We fully embrace P2P technology. But artists must have a choice between systems offering music for free and systems that pay us."
RIAA statement from chairman/CEO Mitch Bainwol:
"With this unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has addressed a significant threat to the U.S. economy and moved to protect the livelihoods of the more than 11 million Americans employed by the copyright industries. The Supreme Court has helped to power the digital future for legitimate online businesses - including legal file sharing networks - by holding accountable those who promote and profit from theft. This decision lays the groundwork for the dawn of a new day - an opportunity that will bring the entertainment and technology communities even closer together, with music fans reaping the rewards."
Congressman Adam Schiff D-Cal., member,
House Juediciary Committee
"Today's decision is a victory for all the hardworking, talented, and creative people in our community and country. The Court struck the appropriate balance between the protection of intellectual property and the
desire to provide consumers with easy and lawful access to movies and music."
Congressman Lamar Smith,R-Tex, chairman of the House
Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property
"This is a huge victory for AmericaÂ¹s creators. I am pleased that the Supreme Court recognizes the need to protect American innovation. The Court today fired a broadside blow at online pirates. This will protect those who create, innovate, and invent. In the weeks to come, the Intellectual Property Subcommittee will analyze the Court's decision and its implications."
Gigi B. Sohn, president of Public Knowledge
"Today's Court decision in the Grokster case underscores a principle Public Knowledge has long promoted -- punish infringers, not technology. The Court has sent the case back to the trial court so that the trial process can determine whether the defendant companies intentionally encouraged infringement. What this means is, to the extent that providers of P2P technology do not intentionally encourage infringement, they are exempt from secondary liability under our copyright law. The Court also acknowledged, importantly, that there are lawful uses for peer-to-peer technology, including distribution of electronic files 'by universities, government agencies, corporations, and libraries, among others.'
"The Court is clearly aware that any technology-based rule would have chilled technological innovation. That is why their decision today re-emphasized and preserved the core principle of Sony v. Universal City Studios -- that technology alone can't be the basis of copyright liability -- and focused clearly and unambiguously on whether defendants engaged in intentional acts of encouraging infringement. The Court held expressly that liability for providing a technological tool such as the Grokster file-sharing client depends on 'clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement.' What this means is, in the absence of such clear expression or other affirmative acts fostering infringement, a company that provides peer-to-peer technology is not going to be secondarily liable under the Copyright Act."
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
“In light of the Supreme Court’s unanimous announcement of the MGM v. Grokster decision today, the Judiciary Committee plans to examine the ruling and its impact on copyright law and innovation.”
MORE GROKSTER COVERAGE:
* Read Billboard Legal Editor Susan Butler's case summary here.
* Read the opinion here.
* Read the Syllabus from the Court opinion.
* Check back throughout the day for updates on this story.