Re: Capabilities of Home Devices
Paramount Pictures Corporation v. RePlayTV, Inc. U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 02-04445 FMC (Ex). In late 2001, a group of major motion picture studios filed separate complaints charging "vicarious" and "contributory" copyright infringement against the manufacturer of a digital video recording device, based on its purported capabilities (1) to share content among device users, (2) automatically to skip commercials on playback, and (3) to search for, store, and index copyrighted works. This action is pending. Recently it was consolidated with Newmark v. Turner Broadcasting Network, an action brought by owners of the devices that are subject to suit, seeking a declaration whether or not they violate copyright laws.
Re: Capabilities of Software Applications
321 Studios v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. CV-02-01955. Authors of a software program that facilitates copying of DVDs on PCs seek a declaratory judgment that it does not violate the DMCA. Recently the studios filed a counterclaim.
Re: Capabilities of Internet-based Networks
A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc. 239 F. 3d 1004 (9th Cir. 2001). U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that administration of the Napster service constitutes both vicarious and contributory copyright infringement; Betamax defense does not apply to the service.
In Re Aimster Copyright Litigation, slip op. 14265 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 4, 2002). U.S. District Court holds that administration of service constitutes both vicarious and contributory copyright infringement; court opinion suggests that in case of networked devices the Betamax case might apply only where the "primary" purpose of the device is non-infringing.
Re: Criminal Liability Under DMCA
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, LTD., U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. CV 01-08541 SVW (PJWx) (Consolidated with CV 01-09923 SVW (PJWx). Motion picture studios and record companies claim software system is centrally administered in fashion found to be copyright violation in Napster and Aimster cases. In recent hearing court considered possible relevance and interpretation of Betamax holding. See amicus curiae brief of The Consumer Electronics Association, October 21, 2002. (Summary
United States v. Elcom LTD., U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. CR 01-20138 RMW. Russian software firm acquitted of criminal liability under DMCA for commercially distributing program capable of copying protected text files.
Re: Constitutionality of Copyright Term Extension
Eldred v. Ashcroft, United States Supreme Court, No. 01-618. Court has under consideration challenge to the constitutionality of the "Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act," passed at same time as the DMCA (1998). (Summary of brief
filed by several user groups)