RealTime IT News

StreamCast Up Streaming Creek

A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled yesterday that online file-sharing company StreamCast was guilty of "massive copyright infringement."

The verdict gives the entertainment industry a full sweep in its battles against file-sharing companies Grokster, Kazaa and now StreamCast.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson granted the plaintiffs' summary judgment and denied StreamCast's motion for a continuance, writing that "evidence of StreamCast's objective of promoting infringement is overwhelming."

A spokesman for StreamCast expressed disappointment in the verdict and told internetnews.com that "an appeal is certainly an option."

He said that the company still hasn't had an opportunity to review the decision in-depth.

StreamCast maintains that it "did not encourage users to infringe on copyrighted works and never intended to do so," the spokesman said.

Judge Wilson disagreed with that contention.

"Infringing use was indisputably on StreamCast's mind when it developed Morpheus; indeed StreamCast took steps to ensure that the technology it deployed would be capable of infringing use," Wilson wrote in his 60-page decision.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reacted to the verdict with jubilation.

"No single court ruling solves piracy or can make up for several challenging years for the music community, but there's no doubt that this particularly important decision means that the rules of the road for online music are better today than they were yesterday," it said in a statement.

The StreamCast spokesman said the company intends to continue promoting its Morpheus multi-tasking software.

"Morpheus is an innovative, multi-use program with legal uses that are overwhelming. In the meantime, Morpheus will continue to discourage users from infringing upon copyrighted works," he said.

But if the fate of other defendants in this suit is any indication, StreamCast may be running dangerously low.

Grokster lost a high-profile Supreme Court appeal last summer and then shut its file-sharing service down last November.

Kazaa, owned by Australian-based Sharman Networks, settled in July, agreeing to pay music industry trade groups $100 million and to implement filtering technology to prevent future illegal file swapping on its network.