Supreme Court Sets Date For Grokster Hearing

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Jan. 19 that it will hear oral arguments in the MGM v. Grokster case on March 29. A host of entertainment industry and artists' groups have filed amicus (friend of the

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Jan. 19 that it will hear oral arguments in the MGM v. Grokster case on March 29. A host of entertainment industry and artists' groups have filed amicus (friend of the court) briefs in the case, which are due Monday (Jan. 24).

Many of the briefs will argue that file-sharing networks like Grokster and Streamcast can be held liable for copyright infringement when individuals use their software to illegally copy copyrighted works. Others may advance their own individual interests.

The Recording Industry Assn. of America, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the National Music Publishers Assn., the Recording Academy and the Recording Artists Coalition (RAC) are among the industry groups presenting these briefs.

In related news, RAC has succeeded in getting more than 40 recording artists spanning 50 years of musical history to sign on its follow-up brief. They include member and non-member artists as varied as Dido, Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies, Jessie Colin Young, Tom Jones, and opera singer Denice Graves.

Back in November, 20 RAC member artists signed the first amicus brief, including the Eagles, the Dixie Chicks, Brooks & Dunn and Kenneth "Babyface" Edwards. RAC spokeswoman Rebecca Greenberg later wrote in a RAC bulletin, "We are convinced that our success in persuading the Court to hear the case was due in no small part to their help."

The High Court will also hear oral arguments in another important media case on the same day, FCC and National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. v. Brand X Internet Services. At issue is whether cable operators must carry rival Internet Service Providers over their broadband networks. The FCC has ruled they must; the Justice Department has filed a brief saying the commission had the authority to make the must-carry ruling.
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