Jenner & Block

Supreme Court to Hear Potential Landmark File-Sharing Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to review a Ninth Circuit decision that had allowed two Napster-like file-sharing services to evade responsibility for massive copyright infringement occurring on their networks. Jenner & Block had asked the Court in October to review the case and overturn the Ninth Circuit’s decision on behalf of every major movie studio and record company in the United States.

According to the Firm’s petition on behalf of the industries, the two peer-to-peer services, Grokster and StreamCast Networks, create, maintain and profit from services on which millions of infringements occur daily.

The Firm’s Petition for a Writ of Certiorari argued that "resolution of the questions presented here will largely determine the value – indeed, the very significance – of copyright in the digital era." The petition asserted that such services encourage consumers to illegally obtain songs and movies for free rather than paying for them and that this infringement constitutes at least 90% of the activity on the services.

The Firm's petition urged the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit decision because it presents "one of the most important copyright cases ever to reach [the] Court" and because the Ninth Circuit's decision created a direct and acknowledged conflict with the Seventh Circuit's decision in Aimster, a case that affirmed liability for a similar peer-to-peer file-sharing service.

The Jenner & Block legal team representing the entertainment companies in the case include Partners Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Ian H. Gershengorn, William M. Hohengarten, Steven B. Fabrizio, Matthew J. Oppenheim and Thomas J. Perrelli and Associates Kathleen R. Hartnett and Brian Hauck.

The case is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.