Streamcast loses in court

Hollywood has won a legal victory against one of the last remaining peer-to-peer networks.

A judge at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles granted summary judgment to the record labels and movie studios suing Streamcast Networks, the company behind popular P2P application Morpheus.

Court dismissed Streamcast’s claims that it is not guilty of copyright infringement as defined in the Supreme Court’s Grokster ruling last year.

Since that unanimous decision, most of the other major P2P networks, including Grokster, Kazaa and eDonkey, have shut down and settled with the movie and music industries for tens of millions of dollars.

Only other remaining major P2P player is Limewire, which is being sued for copyright infringement but recently accused the record industry of antitrust violations and fraud in a countersuit (Daily Variety, Sept. 26).

A spokesman for Streamcast called the decision “disappointing” and said Morpheus would not shut down as the company considers its options, including an appeal. Streamcast “maintains that it did not encourage users to infringe on copyrighted works and never intended to do so,” he added.

In a statement, RIAA topper Mitch Bainwol said, “This court has spoken clearly, powerfully and persuasively to the principle that businesses based on theft will be held accountable.”

Meanwhile, online piracy has largely shifted to BitTorrent applications that don’t have a central company behind them like P2P networks and thus can’t be shut down by means of a single legal action.

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