Grokster has settled its long-standing lawsuit with MGM and the other litigants in
MGM v. Grokster
. The New York Times reported late today that Grokster had abruptly shut down their website and has ceased to do business. The message they left on their front door as they were leaving:

The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed
that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal.
Copying copyrighted motion picture and music files
using unauthorized peer-to-peer services is illegal and is
prosecuted by copyright owners.

There are legal services for downloading music and movies.
This service is not one of them.

Grokster hopes to have a safe and legal service available soon.

Hmmm. Actually, the Supreme Court unanimously confirmed no such thing. They remanded the case back to trial court to consider whether Grokster actively induced their customers to infringe. I appreciate why Grokster would settle their case, but agreeing to have a notice like this posted on their website, as they sign the settlement with the RIAA and begin work on their ‘legal’ service (presumabely under guidance from their new pals in the RIAA) is really kind of lame. It’s a smack in the face of all the people who fought to protect their rights. It undermines the issues they purported to be fighting for all these many months.

I’m not saying that Grokster shouldn’t be held secondarily liable for infringement under an ‘active inducement’ rule. I’m saying that no one has found them guilty of secondary infringement. Their message is a complete capitulation and overreaches the opinion of the Supreme Court. It looks like they got bullied into a pretty submissive position. It’s not unfortunate that they are settling the lawsuit, but it is unfortunate that they would go out like that.

I’m interested to learn what the details of the settlement are.