Fritz E. Attaway
Executive Vice President and Washington
Motion Picture Association of America
Committee on Commerce, Science, and
United States Senate
MGM V. Grokster
July 28, 2005
Statement of Fritz E. Attaway
The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster is
good for content owners, good for technology companies, and most
importantly, good for consumers. The Court's decision, like the adoption
of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, establishes rational and
balanced rules for the evolving digital environment which will remove
uncertainty and spur investment in creative content and the technology
with which it is created, delivered and displayed. As a result, consumers
will have more and better viewing choices.
In its Grokster decision the Court declined to revisit its decision in the
Sony case a decade earlier, but provided important clarification. It said,
as it did in Sony, that the mere manufacture and distribution of a device
with knowledge that it may be used to infringe does not create liability.
However, it said that where there is evidence of purposeful, culpable
conduct directed at promoting infringement, liability DOES attached.
The Court struck a careful balance between the need to foster creative
content and the need to encourage technological innovation. Its rational
balance has been recognized by both the content and the technology
In clarifying its Sony decision, the Grokster Court stressed the
importance of secondary liability to meaningful application of the
copyright law. The Court said that in the digital environment rights
against direct infringers may be impossible to enforce, and that remedies
for secondary liability may be the only practical means to protect
copyrights against massive infringement.
The Court in Grokster sent a resounding message to users of the
Internet: theft of intellectual pro