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Monday, November 07, 2005

Settlement Talk

"The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal." That's what the Grokster Web page says today as the result of a just-announced settlement. (Here are pertinent Google News and Technorati searches.) That's not, however, what the Supreme Court said. The Supreme Court said that on the record it reviewed, Grokster and the other defendant StreamCast (remember it?) were not entitled to summary judgment in their favor. (Summary judgment is something that is appropriate only where a court must conclude the outcome at trial is a foregone conclusion based on the applicable evidence and law.) I'm not sure why Grokster capitulated—StreamCast has not (and of the two I'd say StreamCast got the tougher interpretation of the record from the high court)—but the language you now see on the Grokster home page was unquestionably scripted by the settling plaintiffs as PR—without scrupulous regard to an accurate reading of the Grokster decision. (Likewise, the RIAA press release simply ignores StreamCast's existence.) You might take a look at our bulletin about the case if you're interested in a less partisan summary of the Supreme Court's analysis.

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