[T]he sharp divisions in the Court over precisely how to interpret the “Sony rule” may have a salutary effect of causing developers of technology to take steps to ensure that their products and services truly have substantial noninfringing uses and are not used primarily as infringement tools. While we were hopeful that the Court’s ruling would add clarity to this area of the law, it may be that the lack of clarity causes more socially responsible behavior by those who previously might have been tempted to rely on what they perceived as a “bright-line test” that absolved technology providers from any responsibility whatsoever for the uses to which their offerings are put.
[…] n fact, the Grokster decision should be very helpful to the United States as it continues its discussions with other countries about bringing their copyright laws up to date to meet the challenges of the digital networked environment that connects people around the world. Peer-to-peer infringement is not just a problem in the United States; it is a major problem abroad as well. In fact, to the extent that the Grokster decision provides new legal tools to stop massive peer-to-peer infringement, those tools will be of limited use if unlawful peer-to-peer services simply relocate abroad to jurisdictions where United States law has no applicability and local laws do not reach such conduct. The Grokster decision will assist us greatly in explaining how rules of secondary liability can play a key role in combatting massive peer-to-peer infringement. In fact, if our Supreme Court had upheld the lower courts’ rulings of no liability, it likely would have made our task immeasurably more difficult: how could we urge other countries to take action if our own legal system is not up to the task?
The Judiciary Committee Hearing site: Protecting Copyright and Innovation in a Post-Grokster World