The MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. Supreme Court decision is the basis for my argument that the decision in this case has stopped the process in which technology has continually stayed ahead of the law. In the ruling, Justice Souter wrote: "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties." The ruling here put the burden on the company producing new technologies to not do anything that could be construed as promoting illegal activity through the use of their product. No longer could a company sell a product that was capable of enabling illegal activity and turn a blind eye to how its customers used it.
The court also made a point to say that a company cannot be found liable if there is no evidence to support that it has promoted illegal activity if it has not taken steps to prevent infringement, only if the product has other substantial non-infringing uses. This is significant in that it does not halt technological development that could be used for infringing, but tries to strike a balance between protecting technological advancement and intellectual property.
The Grokster decision effectively ended Grokster as a file sharing service and forced Grokster to pay $50 million to the recording industry. The court ruled that Grokster had shown intent of providing its service for the illegal infringement of copyrighted materials by its users. This case has taken the focus of copyright infringement off of the technological aspect to the intent of the company issuing the technology. As a result, companies must be very careful about how their intent can potentially be seen by a court and also smaller companies may have trouble with creating new innovations if they are forced into costly litigation with much larger companies.