Judges Rule File-sharing Software Legal


A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that frees companies that make file-sharing software from liability for the illegal activities of the users of that software. The record and movie industries had sought to have the makers of P2P services such as Grokster and Morpheus held responsible for illegal file sharing and to force them to redesign their software so that they could monitor network traffic for copyright violations. A lower court, and now the appeals court, rejected those arguments, saying that even if a majority of activity on file-trading networks is illegal, the potential for legitimate uses of the networks means that developers of the services cannot be held accountable for the way they are used. Jack Valenti, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said his group might pursue a further appeal, while attorneys for the maker of P2P service Kazaa, which is involved in a similar lawsuit, said they will ask plaintiffs to dismiss that case based on the appeals court's ruling.

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