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Morpheus Mulls Appeal
September 28, 2006
Thomas Mennecke
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On Monday, Slyck wrote that only three commercial P2P developers of any consequence still existed in the United States. These three were LimeWire, StreamCast (Morpheus), and BitTorrent, Inc. Today, only two remain – LimeWire and BitTorrent, Inc.

Yet for the purposes of determining the culpability of file-sharing developers, LimeWire remains the only credible commercial P2P entity still fighting the entertainment industry. BitTorrent is protected by a mysterious shroud of P2P invulnerability, while StreamCast suffered a disastrous legal defeat yesterday.

Justice Steven Wilson, who two years previously had ruled StreamCast was not liable for copyright infringement, issued a summary judgment which found StreamCast responsible for inducing copyright infringement on a massive scale. Justice Wilson had concluded that StreamCast had intentionally sought to infringe on the entertainment industry’s copyrights and profit handsomely.

In the summary judgment, Justice Wilson stated that StreamCast intentionally designed their program to replace Napster and inherit its massive userbase. StreamCast was also found to have rejected several copyright filters from vendors such as AudibleMagic, however was able to successfully implement adult filters and block Media Defender. Media Defender is a software solution for copyright holders looking to spoof or introduce false files on P2P networks.

The summary judgment also portrays StreamCast as reluctant to install copyright filters out of the fear of losing customers. Justice Wilson wrote that StreamCast executives were reluctant to install such filters because this would only encourage users to migrate elsewhere. And a migrating userbase equals a loss in profit – and according to the summary judgment, StreamCast’s position on keeping the Morpheus experience as true to Napster as possible equals encouragement – which Justice Wilson ruled was inducing copyright infringement.

“StreamCast had the capability of automatically blocking these users on a rolling basis, but expressly decided not to do so.”

StreamCast’s claim that dealing with the entertainment industry was a near impossible task, a similar claim made by LimeWire’s recent countersuit, did not impress Justice Wilson.

“Whatever its subjective intentions were about eventually securing licenses and developing revenue streams that did not depend on infringement, the business that actually materialized was one that thrived only because of the massive infringement enabled by Morpheus and OpenNap/Music City.”

StreamCast maintains that its intentions were not to infringe on copyrights. In a statement released by the company, StreamCast is still reviewing the decision and is considering an appeal.

“While [StreamCast] hasn't had an opportunity to review in depth the Court's decision, the court's ruling is disappointing. StreamCast will consider its options, including appealing the decision. The company maintains that it did not encourage users to infringe on copyrighted works and never intended to do so.”

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
P2P Clients :: Morpheus
Legal/Courtroom :: Developer Lawsuits

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