Recording Industry Wins Another Round Against Free Downloads

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WASHINGTON ( -- The long battle for free peer-to-peer trading of music and videos has finally ended for Grokster, a pioneer in a fight that reached the Supreme Court.

Grokster has shut down at least temporarily its Web site, effectively ending a three-year legal battle with the recording and motion picture industries. Instead of the music and video downloads, Grokster’s site today carries a far different message.

“The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal,” said the message. “There are legal services for downloading music and movies. This service is not one of them.” The message said it hopes “to have a safe and legal service available soon.”

The site links to a new Grokster Web site called advertising itself as “The new Grokster3g … safe, secure & legal P2P experience.”

Today’s move by Grokster had been pretty much preordained after the Supreme Court in June ruled against the company’s fight for free trading. But today the Recording Industry Association of America announced a settlement with Grokster that officially shut it down.

“This settlement brings to a close an incredibly significant chapter in the story of digital music,” said Mitch Bainwol, the recording industry association’s chairman-CEO. “This is a chapter that ends on a high note for the recording industry, the tech community and music fans and consumers everywhere. At the end of the day, this is about our ability to invest in new music. An online marketplace populated by legitimate services allows us to do just that.”

The settlement, which was due to be filed today, includes a permanent injunction prohibiting infringement -- directly or indirectly -- of any of the recording or the movie industry’s copyrighted works. It requires Grokster to immediately cease distribution of its client application and the Grokster system and software, the recording industry said.

Grokster had argued in court that it was a technology company, and while its software allowed users to share information, Grokster itself wasn’t sharing copyrighted works. The high court rejected that argument.

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