MEDIA: Grokster shuts down,0,4450717.story? coll=la-home-headlines

Grokster Ltd. today shut down its online file sharing service to settle
an entertainment industry lawsuit aimed at stopping illegal downloads of copyrighted music, movies and other programming.

The settlement was announced by the Recording Industry Association of America and comes four months after the Supreme Court ruled that online file-sharing services such as Grokster can be held liable for copyright violations by their users.

On its website, Grokster, which was the defendant in a lawsuit, notified visitors of the Supreme Court decision and plans to offer a legal service soon.

...The RIAA said the settlement, which prohibits Grokster from operating or distributing its file-sharing software, will be submitted to court today for approval.

"This settlement brings to a close an incredibly significant chapter in the story of digital music," said RIAA Chairman Mitch Bainwol in a statement.

...The battle over file sharing began in 1999, when the original Napster network made it simple for people to copy songs for free from each other's computers.

...After Napster's demise, millions of users flocked to a new generation of file-sharing programs distributed by Grokster, StreamCast and numerous other companies.

...To the major music companies and Hollywood studios, this was doubly offensive -- not only were the companies helping people copy songs and movies for free, they also were milking advertisers for access to a huge audience of infringers.

With Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios as the lead plaintiff, the major record labels, movie studios and music publishers sued StreamCast and Grokster for copyright infringement in October 2001.