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IP/Entertainment Case Law Updates

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., et al v. Grokster, Ltd., et al., USDC C.D. California California

On October 16, 2007, the district court partially granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a permanent injunction against StreamCast, the operator and distributor of the Morpheus peer-to-peer system and software. (You can read the Loeb & Loeb summary of this order here.) In the Oct. 16 order, the court ordered StreamCast to use the most effective means available to reduce the infringing capabilities of the Morpheus software and system while preserving its core noninfringing issues. The court also stated that it would appoint a Special Master to help determine what filtering mechanism would be the most effective and to supervise the implementation of the filtering mechanism.

On October 25, the court entered an order describing the duties and specific issues to be determined by the Special Master. The Special Master will consider proposals by the parties concerning available methods of filtering. (The court mentioned three types of filtering – artist and title matching, hash value matching, and acoustical fingerprinting – but said the Special Master is not limited to considering just these types of filtering.) The Special Master “should look to impose a technologically feasible filter that will eliminate the greatest number of infringing works while allowing the core noninfringing uses of Morpheus to continue.” The court stated that when making such a determination, the cost imposed on StreamCast should be of secondary concern. The Special Master will also make a recommendation regarding how StreamCast can encourage individuals who are using “legacy” versions of Morpheus software (that do not contain any filtering mechanism) to upgrade to newer versions that do contain filtering technology.

The Special Master will issue a report and recommendations to the court which will include specific steps for implementing the filtering system and for monitoring StreamCast in the future. The parties will have two weeks to meet and decide on a Special Master, or, if they cannot agree, each party will submit the names of three people who can serve as Special Master.

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