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Supreme Court to Rule On Movie Downloading

Washington- The movie and the music businesses – which have lost billions of dollars to illegal downloaders who pirate their flicks and songs – are getting their day in court.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed yesterday to hear an appeal filed by the major media giants, including Time Warner, MGM and Disney.

The court will rule next year on whether peer-to-peer file sharing services like Grokster and StreamCast Networks should be held liable for copyright infringement.

Earlier, a federal appeals court had thrown out the media giants’ copyright suit against the file sharers.

“The infringement Grokster and StreamCast foster is inflicting catastrophic, multibillion dollar harm,” the media giants said in their court papers.

“Resolution of the question presented here will largely determine the value, indeed the very significance of copyright in the digital era,” the court filing said.

According to the media industry plaintiffs, the recording industry is losing between $700 million to more than a billion dollars a year as a result of illegal music downloads.

Indeed, the companies said, more than 100 million people worldwide have used these file-sharing systems.

More than 2.6 billion music files – and as many as 600,000 movies each day – are being downloaded illegally, the media giants said.

The continuing threat of piracy is seen as a huge challenge for the media industry.

The court will probe whether companies like Grokster should be held responsible for the pirates that use their service for illegal downloads.

But Grokster and StreamCast argue that they should not be shut down because their systems are used for legitimate, authorized downloads as well.



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