Sharman to Sue Hollywood
Kazaa owner Sharman Networks can sue the RIAA and MPAA for copyright-infringement and breach of contract, says US District Judge Stephen Wilson.
Rejecting arguments by the labels and studios that Sharman's allegations were too vague, Wilson ruled that specificity isn't required at this stage of the case, says a Bloomberg News story here.
Among other things, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) have been posting phony mp3 files on p2p networks as part of their bid to shut down p2p file sharing.
Sharman says the two Hollywood trade organs also used Kazaa software to track users and send threatening messages, "in a violation of Kazaa's terms for using the network," states the report.
Last year, Wilson decided the owners of two other commercial p2p programs, Grokster (Grokster Ltd) and Morpheus (Streamcast Networks Inc), couldn't control how people use their apps and so couldn't be held liable for piracy by third-party users.
He cited the 1984 Sony Betamax case where Hollywood tried to have VCRs banned. However, the Supreme Court ruled that use of new technology to infringe copyrights didn't justify such an action.
"Grokster and Streamcast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights," Wilson wrote. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals is slated to hear Hollywood's attempt to have his ruling overturned next month.
Wilson, "didn't rule on antitrust claims brought by Sharman, saying that portion of the lawsuit should be delayed until a federal appeals court rules on a related part of the case," says Bloomberg, adding:
"The antitrust claims 'aren't moving forward for now and at the end of the day, even if they do, Sharman won't be able to prove its case,' the RIAA said in a statement. MPAA spokeswoman Marta Grutka declined to comment.