Attorneys for StreamCast Networks, which developed the Morpheus file sharing software, filed briefs in a federal court on Sept. 9 seeking a ruling that distribution of the Morpheus software does not violate copyright law.
More briefs are expected to be filed in the coming months with oral arguments set for Dec. 2 before U.S. Federal District Court Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles.
In their request for a summary judgment, attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the law firm of Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison, argued that distribution of the software is legal because it is capable of substantial noninfringing uses and because StreamCast cannot control the various uses of the software.
On Oct. 2, 2001, 28 of the world's largest entertainment companies sued StreamCast for the alleged infringing actions of Morpheus users. The latest legal action by StreamCast is the company's way of fighting back and pointing out that not all file trading involves copyrighted material.
Morpheus, which is based on the Gnutella P2P networking protocol, is by far the most popular file-sharing software with 100 million downloads in the last year alone.
StreamCast has gained a new ally in its legal battle. Nine-time Grammy nominee Janis Ian has been a vocal supporter of file trading as a useful promotional tool for performing artists. Ian is cited in the briefs as an example of an artist who has benefited from having her work distributed on the Morpheus network.