The United States Supreme Court announced that it would hear a case on whether P2P companies are responsible for the piracy of their users. The court will hear an appeal to a lower court ruling that concluded that Grokster and StreamCast were not responsible for the activities of their users. The ruling was a blow to music companies and movie studios, both determined to stem piracy online.
The ruling in the previous trial had rested on ruling in a case brought against the movie industry twenty years ago. The movie industry wanted to ban VCR's because they would allow film piracy. They lost the case, with courts ruling that VCR's had substantial other users than piracy. Michael Elkin, a copyright litigator said that "What's at stake is basically the future of a close to $500 billion copyright industry, specifically the music recording, motion picture and video industries which have been completely hammered with the advent of the Internet."
Representatives from the Electronic Frontier Foundation reject this; "The copyright law principles set out in the Sony Betamax case have served innovators, copyright industries, and the public well for 20 years," said Fred von Lohmann, IP lawyer at EFF. "We at EFF look forward to the Supreme Court reaffirming the applicability of Betamax in the 21st century." The Supreme court will hear the case in March of 2005.