27
Jun/05

Rip, Mix, Burn: Grokster Sets 'Affirmative Steps To Induce' Standard


S Ct. reverses 9th Cir. 9 – 0, articulating an ‘affiramtive steps to foster infringement’ standard.  Text of Grokster decision.

Important language:

 . . . one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.  We are of course mindful of the need to keep from trenching on regular commerce or discouraging the development of technolgoies with lawful or unalwful potential.  Accordingly, just as Sony did not find intentional inducement despite the knowledge of the VCR manufacturer that its device could be used to infringe . . . mere knowledge of infringing pontential or of actual infringing uses would not be enough here to subject a distributor to liability.  Nor would ordinary acts incident to product distribution, such as offerring customers technical support or product updates, support liability in themselves.  The inducement rule, instead, premises liability on purposeful, culpable epxression and conduct, and thus does nothing to compromise legitimate commerce or discourage innovation having a lawful promise.

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