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Week 11
  • 1 Secondary Liability

    • 1.1 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. v. Grokster (2005)

      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. v. Grokster (2005)

      1

      545 U.S. 913
      125 S. Ct. 2764
      162 L. Ed. 2d 781

      METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER STUDIOS INC. ET AL.
      v.
      GROKSTER, LTD., ET AL.

      No. 04-480.
      Supreme Court of United States.
      Argued March 29, 2005.
      Decided June 27, 2005.

      2

      Respondent companies distribute free software that allows computer users to share electronic files through peer-to-peer networks, so called because the computers communicate directly with each other, not through central servers. Although such networks can be used to share any type of digital file, recipients of respondents' software have mostly used them to share copyrighted music and video files without authorization. Seeking damages and an injunction, a group of movie studios and other copyright holders (hereinafter MGM) sued respondents for their users' copyright infringements, alleging that respondents knowingly and intentionally distributed their software to enable users to infringe copyrighted works in violation of the Copyright Act.

      3

      Discovery revealed that billions of files are shared across peer-to-peer networks each month. Respondents are aware that users employ their software primarily to download copyrighted files, although the decentralized networks do not reveal which files are copied, and when. Respondents have sometimes learned about the infringement directly when users have e-mailed questions regarding copyrighted works, and respondents have replied with guidance. Respondents are not merely passive recipients of information about infringement. The record is replete with evidence that when they began to distribute their free software, each of them clearly voiced the objective that recipients use the software to download copyrighted works and took active steps to encourage infringement. After the notorious file-sharing service, Napster, was sued by copyright holders for facilitating copyright infringement, both respondents promoted and marketed themselves as Napster alternatives. They receive no revenue from users, but, instead, generate income by selling advertising space, then streaming the advertising to their users. As the number of users increases, advertising opportunities are worth more. There is no evidence that either respondent made an effort to filter copyrighted material from users' downloads or otherwise to impede the sharing of copyrighted files.

      4

      While acknowledging that respondents' users had directly infringed MGM's copyrights, the District Court nonetheless granted respondents summary judgment as to liability arising from distribution of their software. [545 U.S. 914] The Ninth Circuit affirmed. It read Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U. S. 417, as holding that the distribution of a commercial product capable of substantial noninfringing uses could not give rise to contributory liability for infringement unless the distributor had actual knowledge of specific instances of infringement and failed to act on that knowledge. Because the appeals court found respondents' software to be capable of substantial noninfringing uses and because respondents had no actual knowledge of infringement owing to the software's decentralized architecture, the court held that they were not liable. It also held that they did not materially contribute to their users' infringement because the users themselves searched for, retrieved, and stored the infringing files, with no involvement by respondents beyond providing the software in the first place. Finally, the court held that respondents could not be held liable under a vicarious infringement theory because they did not monitor or control the software's use, had no agreed-upon right or current ability to supervise its use, and had no independent duty to police infringement.

      5

      Held: 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, going beyond mere distribution with knowledge of third-party action, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties using the device, regardless of the device's lawful uses. Pp. 928-941.

      6

      (a) The tension between the competing values of supporting creativity through copyright protection and promoting technological innovation by limiting infringement liability is the subject of this case. Despite offsetting considerations, the argument for imposing indirect liability here is powerful, given the number of infringing downloads that occur daily using respondents' software. When a widely shared product is used to commit infringement, it may be impossible to enforce rights in the protected work effectively against all direct infringers, so that the only practical alternative is to go against the device's distributor for secondary liability on a theory of contributory or vicarious infringement. One infringes contributorily by intentionally inducing or encouraging direct infringement, and infringes vicariously by profiting from direct infringement while declining to exercise the right to stop or limit it. Although "[t]he Copyright Act does not expressly render anyone liable for [another's] infringement," Sony, 464 U. S., at 434, these secondary liability doctrines emerged from common law principles and are well established in the law, e. g., id., at 486. Pp. 928-931.

      7

      (b) Sony addressed a claim that secondary liability for infringement can arise from the very distribution of a commercial product. There, [545 U.S. 915] copyright holders sued Sony, the manufacturer of videocassette recorders, claiming that it was contributorily liable for the infringement that occurred when VCR owners taped copyrighted programs. The evidence showed that the VCR's principal use was "time-shifting," i. e., taping a program for later viewing at a more convenient time, which the Court found to be a fair, noninfringing use. 464 U. S., at 423-424. Moreover, there was no evidence that Sony had desired to bring about taping in violation of copyright or taken active steps to increase its profits from unlawful taping. Id., at 438. On those facts, the only conceivable basis for liability was on a theory of contributory infringement through distribution of a product. Id., at 439. Because the VCR was "capable of commercially significant noninfringing uses," the Court held that Sony was not liable. Id., at 442. This theory reflected patent law's traditional staple article of commerce doctrine that distribution of a component of a patented device will not violate the patent if it is suitable for use in other ways. 35 U. S. C. § 271(c). The doctrine absolves the equivocal conduct of selling an item with lawful and unlawful uses and limits liability to instances of more acute fault. In this case, the Ninth Circuit misread Sony to mean that when a product is capable of substantial lawful use, the producer cannot be held contributorily liable for third parties' infringing use of it, even when an actual purpose to cause infringing use is shown, unless the distributors had specific knowledge of infringement at a time when they contributed to the infringement and failed to act upon that information. Sony did not displace other secondary liability theories. Pp. 931-934.

      8

      (c) Nothing in Sony requires courts to ignore evidence of intent to promote infringement if such evidence exists. It was never meant to foreclose rules of fault-based liability derived from the common law. 464 U. S., at 439. Where evidence goes beyond a product's characteristics or the knowledge that it may be put to infringing uses, and shows statements or actions directed to promoting infringement, Sony's staple-article rule will not preclude liability. At common law a copyright or patent defendant who "not only expected but invoked [infringing use] by advertisement" was liable for infringement. Kalem Co. v. Harper Brothers, 222 U. S. 55, 62-63. The rule on inducement of infringement as developed in the early cases is no different today. Evidence of active steps taken to encourage direct infringement, such as advertising an infringing use or instructing how to engage in an infringing use, shows an affirmative intent that the product be used to infringe, and overcomes the law's reluctance to find liability when a defendant merely sells a commercial product suitable for some lawful use. A rule that premises liability on purposeful, culpable expression and conduct [545 U.S. 916] does nothing to compromise legitimate commerce or discourage innovation having a lawful promise. Pp. 934-937.

      9

      (d) On the record presented, respondents' unlawful objective is unmistakable. The classic instance of inducement is by advertisement or solicitation that broadcasts a message designed to stimulate others to commit violations. MGM argues persuasively that such a message is shown here. Three features of the evidence of intent are particularly notable. First, each of the respondents showed itself to be aiming to satisfy a known source of demand for copyright infringement, the market comprising former Napster users. Respondents' efforts to supply services to former Napster users indicate a principal, if not exclusive, intent to bring about infringement. Second, neither respondent attempted to develop filtering tools or other mechanisms to diminish the infringing activity using their software. While the Ninth Circuit treated that failure as irrelevant because respondents lacked an independent duty to monitor their users' activity, this evidence underscores their intentional facilitation of their users' infringement. Third, respondents make money by selling advertising space, then by directing ads to the screens of computers employing their software. The more their software is used, the more ads are sent out and the greater the advertising revenue. Since the extent of the software's use determines the gain to the distributors, the commercial sense of their enterprise turns on high-volume use, which the record shows is infringing. This evidence alone would not justify an inference of unlawful intent, but its import is clear in the entire record's context. Pp. 937-940.

      10

      (e) In addition to intent to bring about infringement and distribution of a device suitable for infringing use, the inducement theory requires evidence of actual infringement by recipients of the device, the software in this case. There is evidence of such infringement on a gigantic scale. Because substantial evidence supports MGM on all elements, summary judgment for respondents was error. On remand, reconsideration of MGM's summary judgment motion will be in order. Pp. 940-941.

      11

      380 F. 3d 1154, vacated and remanded.

      12

      SOUTER, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. GINSBURG, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which REHNQUIST, C. J., and KENNEDY, J., joined, post, p. 942. BREYER, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which STEVENS and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined, post, p. 949.

      13

      CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

      14

      Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the briefs for the motion picture studio and recording company petitioners were Ian Heath Gershengorn, [545 U.S. 917] William M. Hohengarten, Steven B. Fabrizio, Thomas J. Perrelli, Matthew J. Oppenheim, David E. Kendall, Thomas G. Hentoff, Kenneth W. Starr, Russell J. Frackman, George M. Borkowski, Robert M. Schwartz, Gregory P. Goeckner, Dean C. Garfield, Elaine J. Goldenberg, Matthew Hersh, Steven M. Marks, and Stanley Pierre-Louis. Carey R. Ramos, Peter L. Felcher, Aidan Synnott, Theodore K. Cheng, Kelli L. Sager, Andrew J. Thomas, Jeffrey H. Blum, and Jeffrey L. Fisher filed briefs for the songwriter and music publisher petitioners.

      15

      Acting Solicitor General Clement argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal. With him on the brief were Assistant Attorney General Keisler, Deputy Solicitor General Hungar, Douglas H. Hallward-Driemeier, Anthony A. Yang, David O. Carson, and John M. Whealan.

      16

      Richard G. Taranto argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were H. Bartow Farr III, Cindy A. Cohn, Fred Von Lohmann, Michael H. Page, Mark A. Lemley, Charles S. Baker, and Matthew A. Neco.[*]

      17

      [545 U.S. 918] JUSTICE SOUTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

      18

      The question is under what circumstances the distributor of a product capable of both lawful and unlawful use is liable [545 U.S. 919] for acts of copyright infringement by third parties using the product. 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.

      19
      I
      20
      A
      21

      Respondents, Grokster, Ltd., and StreamCast Networks, Inc., defendants in the trial court, distribute free software products that allow computer users to share electronic files through peer-to-peer networks, so called because users' computers communicate directly with each other, not through [545 U.S. 920] central servers. The advantage of peer-to-peer networks over information networks of other types shows up in their substantial and growing popularity. Because they need no central computer server to mediate the exchange of information or files among users, the high-bandwidth communications capacity for a server may be dispensed with, and the need for costly server storage space is eliminated. Since copies of a file (particularly a popular one) are available on many users' computers, file requests and retrievals may be faster than on other types of networks, and since file exchanges do not travel through a server, communications can take place between any computers that remain connected to the network without risk that a glitch in the server will disable the network in its entirety. Given these benefits in security, cost, and efficiency, peer-to-peer networks are employed to store and distribute electronic files by universities, government agencies, corporations, and libraries, among others.[1]

      22

      Other users of peer-to-peer networks include individual recipients of Grokster's and StreamCast's software, and although the networks that they enjoy through using the software can be used to share any type of digital file, they have prominently employed those networks in sharing copyrighted music and video files without authorization. A group of copyright holders (MGM for short, but including motion picture studios, recording companies, songwriters, and music publishers) sued Grokster and StreamCast for their users' copyright infringements, alleging that they [545 U.S. 921] knowingly and intentionally distributed their software to enable users to reproduce and distribute the copyrighted works in violation of the Copyright Act, 17 U. S. C. § 101 et seq. (2000 ed. and Supp. II).[2] MGM sought damages and an injunction.

      23

      Discovery during the litigation revealed the way the software worked, the business aims of each defendant company, and the predilections of the users. Grokster's eponymous software employs what is known as FastTrack technology, a protocol developed by others and licensed to Grokster. StreamCast distributes a very similar product except that its software, called Morpheus, relies on what is known as Gnutella technology.[3] A user who downloads and installs either software possesses the protocol to send requests for files directly to the computers of others using software compatible with FastTrack or Gnutella. On the FastTrack network opened by the Grokster software, the user's request goes to a computer given an indexing capacity by the software and designated a supernode, or to some other computer with comparable power and capacity to collect temporary indexes of the files available on the computers of users connected to it. The supernode (or indexing computer) searches its own index and may communicate the search request to other supernodes. If the file is found, the supernode discloses its location to the computer requesting it, and the requesting user can download the file directly from the computer located. The copied file is placed in a designated sharing folder on the requesting user's computer, where it is available for other users to download in turn, along with any other file in that folder.[545 U.S. 922] In the Gnutella network made available by Morpheus, the process is mostly the same, except that in some versions of the Gnutella protocol there are no supernodes. In these versions, peer computers using the protocol communicate directly with each other. When a user enters a search request into the Morpheus software, it sends the request to computers connected with it, which in turn pass the request along to other connected peers. The search results are communicated to the requesting computer, and the user can download desired files directly from peers' computers. As this description indicates, Grokster and StreamCast use no servers to intercept the content of the search requests or to mediate the file transfers conducted by users of the software, there being no central point through which the substance of the communications passes in either direction.[4]

      24

      Although Grokster and StreamCast do not therefore know when particular files are copied, a few searches using their software would show what is available on the networks the software reaches. MGM commissioned a statistician to conduct a systematic search, and his study showed that nearly 90% of the files available for download on the FastTrack system were copyrighted works.[5] Grokster and StreamCast dispute this figure, raising methodological problems and arguing that free copying even of copyrighted works may be authorized by the rightholders. They also argue that potential noninfringing uses of their software are significant in kind, even if infrequent in practice. Some musical performers, for example, have gained new audiences by distributing [545 U.S. 923] their copyrighted works for free across peer-to-peer networks, and some distributors of unprotected content have used peer-to-peer networks to disseminate files, Shakespeare being an example. Indeed, StreamCast has given Morpheus users the opportunity to download the briefs in this very case, though their popularity has not been quantified.

      25

      As for quantification, the parties' anecdotal and statistical evidence entered thus far to show the content available on the FastTrack and Gnutella networks does not say much about which files are actually downloaded by users, and no one can say how often the software is used to obtain copies of unprotected material. But MGM's evidence gives reason to think that the vast majority of users' downloads are acts of infringement, and because well over 100 million copies of the software in question are known to have been downloaded, and billions of files are shared across the FastTrack and Gnutella networks each month, the probable scope of copyright infringement is staggering.

      26

      Grokster and StreamCast concede the infringement in most downloads, Brief for Respondents 10, n. 6, and it is uncontested that they are aware that users employ their software primarily to download copyrighted files, even if the decentralized FastTrack and Gnutella networks fail to reveal which files are being copied, and when. From time to time, moreover, the companies have learned about their users' infringement directly, as from users who have sent e-mail to each company with questions about playing copyrighted movies they had downloaded, to whom the companies have responded with guidance.[6] App. 559-563, 808-816, 939-954. And MGM notified the companies of 8 million copyrighted files that could be obtained using their software.

      27

      Grokster and StreamCast are not, however, merely passive recipients of information about infringing use. The record is replete with evidence that from the moment Grokster [545 U.S. 924] and StreamCast began to distribute their free software, each one clearly voiced the objective that recipients use it to download copyrighted works, and each took active steps to encourage infringement.

      28

      After the notorious file-sharing service, Napster, was sued by copyright holders for facilitation of copyright infringement, A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 114 F. Supp. 2d 896 (ND Cal. 2000), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 239 F. 3d 1004 (CA9 2001), StreamCast gave away a software program of a kind known as OpenNap, designed as compatible with the Napster program and open to Napster users for downloading files from other Napster and OpenNap users' computers. Evidence indicates that "[i]t was always [StreamCast's] intent to use [its OpenNap network] to be able to capture email addresses of [its] initial target market so that [it] could promote [its] StreamCast Morpheus interface to them," App. 861; indeed, the OpenNap program was engineered "`to leverage Napster's 50 million user base,'" id., at 746.

      29

      StreamCast monitored both the number of users downloading its OpenNap program and the number of music files they downloaded. Id., at 859, 863, 866. It also used the resulting OpenNap network to distribute copies of the Morpheus software and to encourage users to adopt it. Id., at 861, 867, 1039. Internal company documents indicate that StreamCast hoped to attract large numbers of former Napster users if that company was shut down by court order or otherwise, and that StreamCast planned to be the next Napster. Id., at 861. A kit developed by StreamCast to be delivered to advertisers, for example, contained press articles about StreamCast's potential to capture former Napster users, id., at 568-572, and it introduced itself to some potential advertisers as a company "which is similar to what Napster was," id., at 884. It broadcast banner advertisements to users of other Napster-compatible software, urging them to adopt its OpenNap. Id., at 586. An internal e-mail from a company executive stated: "`We have put this network in [545 U.S. 925] place so that when Napster pulls the plug on their free service . . . or if the Court orders them shut down prior to that . . . we will be positioned to capture the flood of their 32 million users that will be actively looking for an alternative.'" Id., at 588-589, 861.

      30

      Thus, StreamCast developed promotional materials to market its service as the best Napster alternative. One proposed advertisement read: "Napster Inc. has announced that it will soon begin charging you a fee. That's if the courts don't order it shut down first. What will you do to get around it?" Id., at 897. Another proposed ad touted StreamCast's software as the "#1 alternative to Napster" and asked "[w]hen the lights went off at Napster . . . where did the users go?" Id., at 836 (ellipsis in original).[7] StreamCast even planned to flaunt the illegal uses of its software; when it launched the OpenNap network, the chief technology officer of the company averred that "[t]he goal is to get in trouble with the law and get sued. It's the best way to get in the new[s]." Id., at 916.

      31

      The evidence that Grokster sought to capture the market of former Napster users is sparser but revealing, for Grokster launched its own OpenNap system called Swaptor and inserted digital codes into its Web site so that computer users using Web search engines to look for "Napster" or "[f]ree file sharing" would be directed to the Grokster Web site, where they could download the Grokster software. Id., at 992-993. And Grokster's name is an apparent derivative of Napster.

      32

      StreamCast's executives monitored the number of songs by certain commercial artists available on their networks, and an internal communication indicates they aimed to have a larger number of copyrighted songs available on their networks [545 U.S. 926] than other file-sharing networks. Id., at 868. The point, of course, would be to attract users of a mind to infringe, just as it would be with their promotional materials developed showing copyrighted songs as examples of the kinds of files available through Morpheus. Id., at 848. Morpheus in fact allowed users to search specifically for "Top 40" songs, id., at 735, which were inevitably copyrighted. Similarly, Grokster sent users a newsletter promoting its ability to provide particular, popular copyrighted materials. Brief for Motion Picture Studio and Recording Company Petitioners 7-8.

      33

      In addition to this evidence of express promotion, marketing, and intent to promote further, the business models employed by Grokster and StreamCast confirm that their principal object was use of their software to download copyrighted works. Grokster and StreamCast receive no revenue from users, who obtain the software itself for nothing. Instead, both companies generate income by selling advertising space, and they stream the advertising to Grokster and Morpheus users while they are employing the programs. As the number of users of each program increases, advertising opportunities become worth more. Cf. App. 539, 804. While there is doubtless some demand for free Shakespeare, the evidence shows that substantive volume is a function of free access to copyrighted work. Users seeking Top 40 songs, for example, or the latest release by Modest Mouse, are certain to be far more numerous than those seeking a free Decameron, and Grokster and StreamCast translated that demand into dollars.

      34

      Finally, there is no evidence that either company made an effort to filter copyrighted material from users' downloads or otherwise impede the sharing of copyrighted files. Although Grokster appears to have sent e-mails warning users about infringing content when it received threatening notice from the copyright holders, it never blocked anyone from continuing to use its software to share copyrighted files. [545 U.S. 927] Id., at 75-76. StreamCast not only rejected another company's offer of help to monitor infringement, id., at 928-929, but blocked the Internet Protocol addresses of entities it believed were trying to engage in such monitoring on its networks, id., at 917-922.

      35
      B
      36

      After discovery, the parties on each side of the case crossmoved for summary judgment. The District Court limited its consideration to the asserted liability of Grokster and StreamCast for distributing the current versions of their software, leaving aside whether either was liable "for damages arising from past versions of their software, or from other past activities." 259 F. Supp. 2d 1029, 1033 (CD Cal. 2003). The District Court held that those who used the Grokster and Morpheus software to download copyrighted media files directly infringed MGM's copyrights, a conclusion not contested on appeal, but the court nonetheless granted summary judgment in favor of Grokster and StreamCast as to any liability arising from distribution of the then-current versions of their software. Distributing that software gave rise to no liability in the court's view, because its use did not provide the distributors with actual knowledge of specific acts of infringement. Case No. CV 01 08541 SVW (PJWx) (CD Cal., June 18, 2003), App. 1213.

      37

      The Court of Appeals affirmed. 380 F. 3d 1154 (CA9 2004). In the court's analysis, a defendant was liable as a contributory infringer when it had knowledge of direct infringement and materially contributed to the infringement. But the court read Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U. S. 417 (1984), as holding that distribution of a commercial product capable of substantial noninfringing uses could not give rise to contributory liability for infringement unless the distributor had actual knowledge of specific instances of infringement and failed to act on that knowledge. The fact that the software was capable of substantial noninfringing uses in the Ninth Circuit's view meant [545 U.S. 928] that Grokster and StreamCast were not liable, because they had no such actual knowledge, owing to the decentralized architecture of their software. The court also held that Grokster and StreamCast did not materially contribute to their users' infringement because it was the users themselves who searched for, retrieved, and stored the infringing files, with no involvement by the defendants beyond providing the software in the first place.

      38

      The Ninth Circuit also considered whether Grokster and StreamCast could be liable under a theory of vicarious infringement. The court held against liability because the defendants did not monitor or control the use of the software, had no agreed-upon right or current ability to supervise its use, and had no independent duty to police infringement. We granted certiorari. 543 U. S. 1032 (2004).

      39
      II
      40
      A
      41

      MGM and many of the amici fault the Court of Appeals's holding for upsetting a sound balance between the respective values of supporting creative pursuits through copyright protection and promoting innovation in new communication technologies by limiting the incidence of liability for copyright infringement. The more artistic protection is favored, the more technological innovation may be discouraged; the administration of copyright law is an exercise in managing the tradeoff. See Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, supra, at 442; see generally Ginsburg, Copyright and Control Over New Technologies of Dissemination, 101 Colum. L. Rev. 1613 (2001); Lichtman & Landes, Indirect Liability for Copyright Infringement: An Economic Perspective, 16 Harv. J. L. & Tech. 395 (2003).

      42

      The tension between the two values is the subject of this case, with its claim that digital distribution of copyrighted material threatens copyright holders as never before, because every copy is identical to the original, copying is easy, [545 U.S. 929] and many people (especially the young) use file-sharing software to download copyrighted works. This very breadth of the software's use may well draw the public directly into the debate over copyright policy, Peters, Brace Memorial Lecture: Copyright Enters the Public Domain, 51 J. Copyright Soc. 701, 705-717 (2004) (address by Register of Copyrights), and the indications are that the ease of copying songs or movies using software like Grokster's and Napster's is fostering disdain for copyright protection, Wu, When Code Isn't Law, 89 Va. L. Rev. 679, 724-726 (2003). As the case has been presented to us, these fears are said to be offset by the different concern that imposing liability, not only on infringers but on distributors of software based on its potential for unlawful use, could limit further development of beneficial technologies. See, e. g., Lemley & Reese, Reducing Digital Copyright Infringement Without Restricting Innovation, 56 Stan. L. Rev. 1345, 1386-1390 (2004); Brief for Innovation Scholars and Economists as Amici Curiae 15-20; Brief for Emerging Technology Companies as Amici Curiae 19-25; Brief for Intel Corporation as Amicus Curiae 20-22.[8]

      43

      The argument for imposing indirect liability in this case is, however, a powerful one, given the number of infringing downloads that occur every day using StreamCast's and Grokster's software. When a widely shared service or product is used to commit infringement, it may be impossible to [545 U.S. 930] enforce rights in the protected work effectively against all direct infringers, the only practical alternative being to go against the distributor of the copying device for secondary liability on a theory of contributory or vicarious infringement. See In re Aimster Copyright Litigation, 334 F. 3d 643, 645-646 (CA7 2003).

      44

      One infringes contributorily by intentionally inducing or encouraging direct infringement, see Gershwin Pub. Corp. v. Columbia Artists Management, Inc., 443 F. 2d 1159, 1162 (CA2 1971), and infringes vicariously by profiting from direct infringement while declining to exercise a right to stop or limit it, Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. v. H. L. Green Co., 316 F. 2d 304, 307 (CA2 1963).[9] Although "[t]he Copyright Act does not expressly render anyone liable for infringement committed by another," Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, 464 U. S., at 434, these doctrines of secondary liability emerged from common law principles and are well established in the law, id., at 486 (Blackmun, J., dissenting); Kalem Co. v. Harper Brothers, 222 U. S. 55, 62-63 (1911); Gershwin Pub. Corp. v. Columbia Artists Management, [545 U.S. 931] supra, at 1162; 3 M. Nimmer & D. Nimmer, Copyright § 12.04[A] (2005).

      45
      B
      46

      Despite the currency of these principles of secondary liability, this Court has dealt with secondary copyright infringement in only one recent case, and because MGM has tailored its principal claim to our opinion there, a look at our earlier holding is in order. In Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, supra, this Court addressed a claim that secondary liability for infringement can arise from the very distribution of a commercial product. There, the product, novel at the time, was what we know today as the videocassette recorder or VCR. Copyright holders sued Sony as the manufacturer, claiming it was contributorily liable for infringement that occurred when VCR owners taped copyrighted programs because it supplied the means used to infringe, and it had constructive knowledge that infringement would occur. At the trial on the merits, the evidence showed that the principal use of the VCR was for "`time-shifting,'" or taping a program for later viewing at a more convenient time, which the Court found to be a fair, not an infringing, use. Id., at 423-424. There was no evidence that Sony had expressed an object of bringing about taping in violation of copyright or had taken active steps to increase its profits from unlawful taping. Id., at 438. Although Sony's advertisements urged consumers to buy the VCR to "`record favorite shows'" or "`build a library'" of recorded programs, id., at 459 (Blackmun, J., dissenting), neither of these uses was necessarily infringing, id., at 424, 454-455.

      47

      On those facts, with no evidence of stated or indicated intent to promote infringing uses, the only conceivable basis for imposing liability was on a theory of contributory infringement arising from its sale of VCRs to consumers with knowledge that some would use them to infringe. Id., at 439. But because the VCR was "capable of commercially significant noninfringing uses," we held the manufacturer [545 U.S. 932] could not be faulted solely on the basis of its distribution. Id., at 442.

      48

      This analysis reflected patent law's traditional staple article of commerce doctrine, now codified, that distribution of a component of a patented device will not violate the patent if it is suitable for use in other ways. 35 U. S. C. § 271(c); Aro Mfg. Co. v. Convertible Top Replacement Co., 377 U. S. 476, 485 (1964) (noting codification of cases); id., at 486, n. 6 (same). The doctrine was devised to identify instances in which it may be presumed from distribution of an article in commerce that the distributor intended the article to be used to infringe another's patent, and so may justly be held liable for that infringement. "One who makes and sells articles which are only adapted to be used in a patented combination will be presumed to intend the natural consequences of his acts; he will be presumed to intend that they shall be used in the combination of the patent." New York Scaffolding Co. v. Whitney, 224 F. 452, 459 (CA8 1915); see also James Heekin Co. v. Baker, 138 F. 63, 66 (CA8 1905); Canda v. Michigan Malleable Iron Co., 124 F. 486, 489 (CA6 1903); Thomson-Houston Electric Co. v. Ohio Brass Co., 80 F. 712, 720-721 (CA6 1897); Red Jacket Mfg. Co. v. Davis, 82 F. 432, 439 (CA7 1897); Holly v. Vergennes Machine Co., 4 F. 74, 82 (CC Vt. 1880); Renwick v. Pond, 20 F. Cas. 536, 541 (No. 11,702) (CC SDNY 1872).

      49

      In sum, where an article is "good for nothing else" but infringement, Canda v. Michigan Malleable Iron Co., supra, at 489, there is no legitimate public interest in its unlicensed availability, and there is no injustice in presuming or imputing an intent to infringe, see Henry v. A. B. Dick Co., 224 U. S. 1, 48 (1912), overruled on other grounds, Motion Picture Patents Co. v. Universal Film Mfg. Co., 243 U. S. 502 (1917). Conversely, the doctrine absolves the equivocal conduct of selling an item with substantial lawful as well as unlawful uses, and limits liability to instances of more acute [545 U.S. 933] fault than the mere understanding that some of one's products will be misused. It leaves breathing room for innovation and a vigorous commerce. See Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, 464 U. S., at 442; Dawson Chemical Co. v. Rohm & Haas Co., 448 U. S. 176, 221 (1980); Henry v. A. B. Dick Co., supra, at 48.

      50

      The parties and many of the amici in this case think the key to resolving it is the Sony rule and, in particular, what it means for a product to be "capable of commercially significant noninfringing uses." Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, supra, at 442. MGM advances the argument that granting summary judgment to Grokster and StreamCast as to their current activities gave too much weight to the value of innovative technology, and too little to the copyrights infringed by users of their software, given that 90% of works available on one of the networks was shown to be copyrighted. Assuming the remaining 10% to be its noninfringing use, MGM says this should not qualify as "substantial," and the Court should quantify Sony to the extent of holding that a product used "principally" for infringement does not qualify. See Brief for Motion Picture Studio and Recording Company Petitioners 31. As mentioned before, Grokster and StreamCast reply by citing evidence that their software can be used to reproduce public domain works, and they point to copyright holders who actually encourage copying. Even if infringement is the principal practice with their software today, they argue, the noninfringing uses are significant and will grow.

      51

      We agree with MGM that the Court of Appeals misapplied Sony, which it read as limiting secondary liability quite beyond the circumstances to which the case applied. Sony barred secondary liability based on presuming or imputing intent to cause infringement solely from the design or distribution of a product capable of substantial lawful use, which the distributor knows is in fact used for infringement. The [545 U.S. 934] Ninth Circuit has read Sony's limitation to mean that whenever a product is capable of substantial lawful use, the producer can never be held contributorily liable for third parties' infringing use of it; it read the rule as being this broad, even when an actual purpose to cause infringing use is shown by evidence independent of design and distribution of the product, unless the distributors had "specific knowledge of infringement at a time at which they contributed to the infringement, and failed to act upon that information." 380 F. 3d, at 1162 (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted). Because the Circuit found the StreamCast and Grokster software capable of substantial lawful use, it concluded on the basis of its reading of Sony that neither company could be held liable, since there was no showing that their software, being without any central server, afforded them knowledge of specific unlawful uses.

      52

      This view of Sony, however, was error, converting the case from one about liability resting on imputed intent to one about liability on any theory. Because Sony did not displace other theories of secondary liability, and because we find below that it was error to grant summary judgment to the companies on MGM's inducement claim, we do not revisit Sony further, as MGM requests, to add a more quantified description of the point of balance between protection and commerce when liability rests solely on distribution with knowledge that unlawful use will occur. It is enough to note that the Ninth Circuit's judgment rested on an erroneous understanding of Sony and to leave further consideration of the Sony rule for a day when that may be required.

      53
      C
      54

      Sony's rule limits imputing culpable intent as a matter of law from the characteristics or uses of a distributed product. But nothing in Sony requires courts to ignore evidence of intent if there is such evidence, and the case was never meant to foreclose rules of fault-based liability derived from [545 U.S. 935] the common law.[10] Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, supra, at 439 ("If vicarious liability is to be imposed on Sony in this case, it must rest on the fact that it has sold equipment with constructive knowledge" of the potential for infringement). Thus, where evidence goes beyond a product's characteristics or the knowledge that it may be put to infringing uses, and shows statements or actions directed to promoting infringement, Sony's staple-article rule will not preclude liability.

      55

      The classic case of direct evidence of unlawful purpose occurs when one induces commission of infringement by another, or "entic[es] or persuad[es] another" to infringe, Black's Law Dictionary 790 (8th ed. 2004), as by advertising. Thus at common law a copyright or patent defendant who "not only expected but invoked [infringing use] by advertisement" was liable for infringement "on principles recognized in every part of the law." Kalem Co. v. Harper Brothers, 222 U. S., at 62-63 (copyright infringement). See also Henry v. A. B. Dick Co., 224 U. S., at 48-49 (contributory liability for patent infringement may be found where a good's "most conspicuous use is one which will coöperate in an infringement when sale to such user is invoked by advertisement" of the infringing use); Thomson-Houston Electric Co. v. Kelsey Electric R. Specialty Co., 75 F. 1005, 1007-1008 (CA2 1896) (relying on advertisements and displays to find defendant's "willingness . . . to aid other persons in any attempts which they may be disposed to make towards [patent] infringement"); Rumford Chemical Works v. Hecker, 20 F. Cas. 1342, 1346 (No. 12,133) (CC NJ 1876) (demonstrations of infringing activity along with "avowals of the [infringing] purpose and use for which it was made" supported liability for patent infringement).

      56

      [545 U.S. 936] The rule on inducement of infringement as developed in the early cases is no different today.[11] Evidence of "active steps . . . taken to encourage direct infringement," Oak Industries, Inc. v. Zenith Electronics Corp., 697 F. Supp. 988, 992 (ND Ill. 1988), such as advertising an infringing use or instructing how to engage in an infringing use, show an affirmative intent that the product be used to infringe, and a showing that infringement was encouraged overcomes the law's reluctance to find liability when a defendant merely sells a commercial product suitable for some lawful use, see, e. g., Water Technologies Corp. v. Calco, Ltd., 850 F. 2d 660, 668 (CA Fed. 1988) (liability for inducement where one "actively and knowingly aid[s] and abet[s] another's direct infringement" (emphasis deleted)); Fromberg, Inc. v. Thornhill, 315 F. 2d 407, 412-413 (CA5 1963) (demonstrations by sales staff of infringing uses supported liability for inducement); Haworth Inc. v. Herman Miller Inc., 37 USPQ 2d 1080, 1090 (WD Mich. 1994) (evidence that defendant "demonstrate[d] and recommend[ed] infringing configurations" of its product could support inducement liability); Sims v. Mack Trucks, Inc., 459 F. Supp. 1198, 1215 (ED Pa. 1978) (finding inducement where the use "depicted by the defendant in its promotional film and brochures infringes the . . . patent"), overruled on other grounds, 608 F. 2d 87 (CA3 1979). Cf. W. Keeton, D. Dobbs, R. Keeton, & D. Owen, Prosser and Keeton on Law of Torts 37 (5th ed. 1984) ("There is a definite tendency to impose greater responsibility upon a defendant whose conduct was intended to do harm, or was morally wrong").

      57

      For the same reasons that Sony took the staple-article doctrine of patent law as a model for its copyright safe-harbor rule, the inducement rule, too, is a sensible one for copyright. We adopt it here, holding that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as [545 U.S. 937] shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties. We are, of course, mindful of the need to keep from trenching on regular commerce or discouraging the development of technologies with lawful and unlawful potential. Accordingly, just as Sony did not find intentional inducement despite the knowledge of the VCR manufacturer that its device could be used to infringe, 464 U. S., at 439, n. 19, mere knowledge of infringing potential or of actual infringing uses would not be enough here to subject a distributor to liability. Nor would ordinary acts incident to product distribution, such as offering customers technical support or product updates, support liability in themselves. The inducement rule, instead, premises liability on purposeful, culpable expression and conduct, and thus does nothing to compromise legitimate commerce or discourage innovation having a lawful promise.

      58
      III
      59
      A
      60

      The only apparent question about treating MGM's evidence as sufficient to withstand summary judgment under the theory of inducement goes to the need on MGM's part to adduce evidence that StreamCast and Grokster communicated an inducing message to their software users. The classic instance of inducement is by advertisement or solicitation that broadcasts a message designed to stimulate others to commit violations. MGM claims that such a message is shown here. It is undisputed that StreamCast beamed onto the computer screens of users of Napster-compatible programs ads urging the adoption of its OpenNap program, which was designed, as its name implied, to invite the custom of patrons of Napster, then under attack in the courts for facilitating massive infringement. Those who accepted StreamCast's OpenNap program were offered software to perform the same services, which a factfinder could conclude [545 U.S. 938] would readily have been understood in the Napster market as the ability to download copyrighted music files. Grokster distributed an electronic newsletter containing links to articles promoting its software's ability to access popular copyrighted music. And anyone whose Napster or free file-sharing searches turned up a link to Grokster would have understood Grokster to be offering the same file-sharing ability as Napster, and to the same people who probably used Napster for infringing downloads; that would also have been the understanding of anyone offered Grokster's suggestively named Swaptor software, its version of OpenNap. And both companies communicated a clear message by responding affirmatively to requests for help in locating and playing copyrighted materials.

      61

      In StreamCast's case, of course, the evidence just described was supplemented by other unequivocal indications of unlawful purpose in the internal communications and advertising designs aimed at Napster users ("When the lights went off at Napster . . . where did the users go?" App. 836 (ellipsis in original)). Whether the messages were communicated is not to the point on this record. The function of the message in the theory of inducement is to prove by a defendant's own statements that his unlawful purpose disqualifies him from claiming protection (and incidentally to point to actual violators likely to be found among those who hear or read the message). See supra, at 935-937. Proving that a message was sent out, then, is the preeminent but not exclusive way of showing that active steps were taken with the purpose of bringing about infringing acts, and of showing that infringing acts took place by using the device distributed. Here, the summary judgment record is replete with other evidence that Grokster and StreamCast, unlike the manufacturer and distributor in Sony, acted with a purpose to cause copyright violations by use of software suitable for illegal use. See supra, at 924-927.

      62

      [545 U.S. 939] Three features of this evidence of intent are particularly notable. First, each company showed itself to be aiming to satisfy a known source of demand for copyright infringement, the market comprising former Napster users. StreamCast's internal documents made constant reference to Napster, it initially distributed its Morpheus software through an OpenNap program compatible with Napster, it advertised its OpenNap program to Napster users, and its Morpheus software functions as Napster did except that it could be used to distribute more kinds of files, including copyrighted movies and software programs. Grokster's name is apparently derived from Napster, it too initially offered an OpenNap program, its software's function is likewise comparable to Napster's, and it attempted to divert queries for Napster onto its own Web site. Grokster and StreamCast's efforts to supply services to former Napster users, deprived of a mechanism to copy and distribute what were overwhelmingly infringing files, indicate a principal, if not exclusive, intent on the part of each to bring about infringement.

      63

      Second, this evidence of unlawful objective is given added significance by MGM's showing that neither company attempted to develop filtering tools or other mechanisms to diminish the infringing activity using their software. While the Ninth Circuit treated the defendants' failure to develop such tools as irrelevant because they lacked an independent duty to monitor their users' activity, we think this evidence underscores Grokster's and StreamCast's intentional facilitation of their users' infringement.[12]

      64

      Third, there is a further complement to the direct evidence of unlawful objective. It is useful to recall that StreamCast [545 U.S. 940] and Grokster make money by selling advertising space, by directing ads to the screens of computers employing their software. As the record shows, the more the software is used, the more ads are sent out and the greater the advertising revenue becomes. Since the extent of the software's use determines the gain to the distributors, the commercial sense of their enterprise turns on high-volume use, which the record shows is infringing.[13] This evidence alone would not justify an inference of unlawful intent, but viewed in the context of the entire record its import is clear.

      65

      The unlawful objective is unmistakable.

      66
      B
      67

      In addition to intent to bring about infringement and distribution of a device suitable for infringing use, the inducement theory of course requires evidence of actual infringement by recipients of the device, the software in this case. As the account of the facts indicates, there is evidence of infringement on a gigantic scale, and there is no serious issue of the adequacy of MGM's showing on this point in order to survive the companies' summary judgment requests. Although [545 U.S. 941] an exact calculation of infringing use, as a basis for a claim of damages, is subject to dispute, there is no question that the summary judgment evidence is at least adequate to entitle MGM to go forward with claims for damages and equitable relief.

      68

      * * *

      69

      In sum, this case is significantly different from Sony and reliance on that case to rule in favor of StreamCast and Grokster was error. Sony dealt with a claim of liability based solely on distributing a product with alternative lawful and unlawful uses, with knowledge that some users would follow the unlawful course. The case struck a balance between the interests of protection and innovation by holding that the product's capability of substantial lawful employment should bar the imputation of fault and consequent secondary liability for the unlawful acts of others.

      70

      MGM's evidence in this case most obviously addresses a different basis of liability for distributing a product open to alternative uses. Here, evidence of the distributors' words and deeds going beyond distribution as such shows a purpose to cause and profit from third-party acts of copyright infringement. If liability for inducing infringement is ultimately found, it will not be on the basis of presuming or imputing fault, but from inferring a patently illegal objective from statements and actions showing what that objective was.

      71

      There is substantial evidence in MGM's favor on all elements of inducement, and summary judgment in favor of Grokster and StreamCast was error. On remand, reconsideration of MGM's motion for summary judgment will be in order.

      72

      The judgment of the Court of Appeals is vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

      73

      It is so ordered.

      74

      [545 U.S. 942] JUSTICE GINSBURG, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE and JUSTICE KENNEDY join, concurring.

      75

      I concur in the Court's decision, which vacates in full the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, ante, at 941, and write separately to clarify why I conclude that the Court of Appeals misperceived, and hence misapplied, our holding in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U. S. 417 (1984). There is here at least a "genuine issue as to [a] material fact," Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 56(c), on the liability of Grokster or StreamCast, not only for actively inducing copyright infringement, but also, or alternatively, based on the distribution of their software products, for contributory copyright infringement. On neither score was summary judgment for Grokster and StreamCast warranted.

      76

      At bottom, however labeled, the question in this case is whether Grokster and StreamCast are liable for the direct infringing acts of others. Liability under our jurisprudence may be predicated on actively encouraging (or inducing) infringement through specific acts (as the Court's opinion develops) or on distributing a product distributees use to infringe copyrights, if the product is not capable of "substantial" or "commercially significant" noninfringing uses. Sony, 464 U. S., at 442; see also 3 M. Nimmer & D. Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 12.04[A][2] (2005). While the two categories overlap, they capture different culpable behavior. Long coexisting, both are now codified in patent law. Compare 35 U. S. C. § 271(b) (active inducement liability) with § 271(c) (contributory liability for distribution of a product not "suitable for substantial noninfringing use").

      77

      In Sony, 464 U. S. 417, the Court considered Sony's liability for selling the Betamax videocassette recorder. It did so enlightened by a full trial record. Drawing an analogy to the staple article of commerce doctrine from patent law, [545 U.S. 943] the Sony Court observed that the "sale of an article . . . adapted to [a patent] infringing use" does not suffice "to make the seller a contributory infringer" if the article "is also adapted to other and lawful uses." Id., at 441 (quoting Henry v. A. B. Dick Co., 224 U. S. 1, 48 (1912), overruled on other grounds, Motion Picture Patents Co. v. Universal Film Mfg. Co., 243 U. S. 502, 517 (1917)).

      78

      "The staple article of commerce doctrine" applied to copyright, the Court stated, "must strike a balance between a copyright holder's legitimate demand for effective—not merely symbolic—protection of the statutory monopoly, and the rights of others freely to engage in substantially unrelated areas of commerce." Sony, 464 U. S., at 442. "Accordingly," the Court held, "the sale of copying equipment, like the sale of other articles of commerce, does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is widely used for legitimate, unobjectionable purposes. Indeed, it need merely be capable of substantial noninfringing uses." Ibid. Thus, to resolve the Sony case, the Court explained, it had to determine "whether the Betamax is capable of commercially significant noninfringing uses." Ibid.

      79

      To answer that question, the Court considered whether "a significant number of [potential uses of the Betamax were] noninfringing." Ibid. The Court homed in on one potential use—private, noncommercial time-shifting of television programs in the home (i. e., recording a broadcast TV program for later personal viewing). Time-shifting was noninfringing, the Court concluded, because in some cases trial testimony showed it was authorized by the copyright holder, id., at 443-447, and in others it qualified as legitimate fair use, id., at 447-455. Most purchasers used the Betamax principally to engage in time-shifting, id., at 421, 423, a use that "plainly satisfie[d]" the Court's standard, id., at 442. Thus, there was no need in Sony to "give precise content to the question of how much [actual or potential] use is commercially [545 U.S. 944] significant." Ibid.[14] Further development was left for later days and cases.

      80

      The Ninth Circuit went astray, I will endeavor to explain, when that court granted summary judgment to Grokster and StreamCast on the charge of contributory liability based on distribution of their software products. Relying on its earlier opinion in A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F. 3d 1004 (CA9 2001), the Court of Appeals held that "if substantial noninfringing use was shown, the copyright owner would be required to show that the defendant had reasonable knowledge of specific infringing files." 380 F. 3d 1154, 1161 (CA9 2004). "A careful examination of the record," the [545 U.S. 945] court concluded, "indicates that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to noninfringing use." Ibid. The appeals court pointed to the band Wilco, which made one of its albums available for free downloading, to other recording artists who may have authorized free distribution of their music through the Internet, and to public domain literary works and films available through Grokster's and StreamCast's software. Ibid. Although it acknowledged petitioners' (hereinafter MGM) assertion that "the vast majority of the software use is for copyright infringement," the court concluded that Grokster's and StreamCast's proffered evidence met Sony's requirement that "a product need only be capable of substantial noninfringing uses." 380 F. 3d, at 1162.[15]

      81

      This case differs markedly from Sony. Cf. Peters, Brace Memorial Lecture: Copyright Enters the Public Domain, 51 J. Copyright Soc. 701, 724 (2004) ("The Grokster panel's reading of Sony is the broadest that any court has given it . . . ."). Here, there has been no finding of any fair use and little beyond anecdotal evidence of noninfringing uses. In finding the Grokster and StreamCast software products capable of substantial noninfringing uses, the District Court and the Court of Appeals appear to have relied largely on declarations submitted by the defendants. These declarations include assertions (some of them hearsay) that a number of copyright owners authorize distribution of their works on the Internet and that some public domain material is available through peer-to-peer networks including those accessed through Grokster's and StreamCast's software. 380 F. 3d, at 1161; 259 F. Supp. 2d 1029, 1035-1036 (CD Cal. 2003); App. 125-171.

      82

      [545 U.S. 946] The District Court declared it "undisputed that there are substantial noninfringing uses for Defendants' software," thus obviating the need for further proceedings. 259 F. Supp. 2d, at 1035. This conclusion appears to rest almost entirely on the collection of declarations submitted by Grokster and StreamCast. Ibid. Review of these declarations reveals mostly anecdotal evidence, sometimes obtained secondhand, of authorized copyrighted works or public domain works available online and shared through peer-to-peer networks, and general statements about the benefits of peer-to-peer technology. See, e. g., Decl. of Janis Ian ¶ 13, App. 128 ("P2P technologies offer musicians an alternative channel for promotion and distribution."); Decl. of Gregory Newby ¶ 12, id., at 136 ("Numerous authorized and public domain Project Gutenberg eBooks are made available on Morpheus, Kazaa, Gnutella, Grokster, and similar software products."); Decl. of Aram Sinnreich ¶ 6, id., at 151 ("file sharing seems to have a net positive impact on music sales"); Decl. of John Busher ¶ 8, id., at 166 ("I estimate that Acoustica generates sales of between $1,000 and $10,000 per month as a result of the distribution of its trialware software through the Gnutella and FastTrack Networks."); Decl. of Patricia D. Hoekman ¶¶ 3-4, id., at 169-170 (search on Morpheus for "President Bush speeches" found several video recordings, searches for "Declaration of Independence" and "Bible" found various documents and declarant was able to download a copy of the Declaration); Decl. of Sean L. Mayers ¶ 11, id., at 67 ("Existing open, decentralized peer-to-peer file-sharing networks . . . offer content owners distinct business advantages over alternate online distribution technologies."). Compare Decl. of Brewster Kahle ¶ 20, id., at 142 ("Those who download the Prelinger films . . . are entitled to redistribute those files, and the Archive welcomes their redistribution by the Morpheus-Grokster-KaZaa community of users."), with Deposition of Brewster Kahle (Sept. 18, [545 U.S. 947] 2002), id., at 396-403 (testifying that he has no knowledge of any person downloading a Prelinger film using Morpheus, Grokster, or KaZaA). Compare also Decl. of Richard Prelinger ¶ 17, id., at 147 ("[W]e welcome further redistribution of the Prelinger films . . . by individuals using peer-to-peer software products like Morpheus, KaZaA and Grokster."), with Deposition of Richard Prelinger (Oct. 1, 2002), id., at 410-411 ("Q. What is your understanding of Grokster? A. I have no understanding of Grokster. . . . Q. Do you know whether any user of the Grokster software has made available to share any Prelinger film? A. No."). See also Deposition of Aram Sinnreich (Sept. 25, 2002), id., at 390 (testimony about the band Wilco based on "[t]he press and industry news groups and scuttlebutt."). These declarations do not support summary judgment in the face of evidence, proffered by MGM, of overwhelming use of Grokster's and StreamCast's software for infringement.[16]

      83

      [545 U.S. 948] Even if the absolute number of noninfringing files copied using the Grokster and StreamCast software is large, it does not follow that the products are therefore put to substantial noninfringing uses and are thus immune from liability. The number of noninfringing copies may be reflective of, and dwarfed by, the huge total volume of files shared. Further, the District Court and the Court of Appeals did not sharply distinguish between uses of Grokster's and StreamCast's software products (which this case is about) and uses of peer-to-peer technology generally (which this case is not about).

      84

      In sum, when the record in this case was developed, there was evidence that Grokster's and StreamCast's products were, and had been for some time, overwhelmingly used to infringe, ante, at 922-924; App. 434-439, 476-481, and that this infringement was the overwhelming source of revenue from the products, ante, at 925-926; 259 F. Supp. 2d, at 1043-1044. Fairly appraised, the evidence was insufficient to demonstrate, beyond genuine debate, a reasonable prospect that substantial or commercially significant noninfringing uses were likely to develop over time. On this record, the District Court should not have ruled dispositively on the contributory infringement charge by granting summary judgment to Grokster and StreamCast.[17]

      85

      If, on remand, the case is not resolved on summary judgment in favor of MGM based on Grokster and StreamCast actively inducing infringement, the Court of Appeals, I [545 U.S. 949] would emphasize, should reconsider, on a fuller record, its interpretation of Sony's product distribution holding.

      86

      ---------------

      87

      JUSTICE BREYER, with whom JUSTICE STEVENS and JUSTICE O'CONNOR join, concurring.

      88

      I agree with the Court that the distributor of a dual-use technology may be liable for the infringing activities of third parties where he or she actively seeks to advance the infringement. Ante, at 919. I further agree that, in light of our holding today, we need not now "revisit" Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U. S. 417 (1984). Ante, at 934. Other Members of the Court, however, take up the Sony question: whether Grokster's product is "capable of `substantial' or `commercially significant' noninfringing uses." Ante, at 942 (GINSBURG, J., concurring) (quoting Sony, supra, at 442). And they answer that question by stating that the Court of Appeals was wrong when it granted summary judgment on the issue in Grokster's favor. Ante, at 944. I write to explain why I disagree with them on this matter.

      89
      I
      90

      The Court's opinion in Sony and the record evidence (as described and analyzed in the many briefs before us) together convince me that the Court of Appeals' conclusion has adequate legal support.

      91
      A
      92

      I begin with Sony's standard. In Sony, the Court considered the potential copyright liability of a company that did not itself illegally copy protected material, but rather sold a machine—a videocassette recorder (VCR)—that could be used to do so. A buyer could use that machine for non-infringing purposes, such as recording for later viewing (sometimes called "`time-shifting,'" Sony, 464 U. S., at 421) uncopyrighted television programs or copyrighted programs with a copyright holder's permission. The buyer could use [545 U.S. 950] the machine for infringing purposes as well, such as building libraries of taped copyrighted programs. Or, the buyer might use the machine to record copyrighted programs under circumstances in which the legal status of the act of recording was uncertain (i. e., where the copying may, or may not, have constituted a "fair use," id., at 425-426). Sony knew many customers would use its VCRs to engage in unauthorized copying and "`library-building.'" Id., at 458-459 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). But that fact, said the Court, was insufficient to make Sony itself an infringer. And the Court ultimately held that Sony was not liable for its customers' acts of infringement.

      93

      In reaching this conclusion, the Court recognized the need for the law, in fixing secondary copyright liability, to "strike a balance between a copyright holder's legitimate demand for effective—not merely symbolic—protection of the statutory monopoly, and the rights of others freely to engage in substantially unrelated areas of commerce." Id., at 442. It pointed to patent law's "staple article of commerce" doctrine, ibid., under which a distributor of a product is not liable for patent infringement by its customers unless that product is "unsuited for any commercial noninfringing use." Dawson Chemical Co. v. Rohm & Haas Co., 448 U. S. 176, 198 (1980). The Court wrote that the sale of copying equipment, "like the sale of other articles of commerce, does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is widely used for legitimate, unobjectionable purposes. Indeed, it need merely be capable of substantial noninfringing uses." Sony, 464 U. S., at 442 (emphasis added). The Court ultimately characterized the legal "question" in the particular case as "whether [Sony's VCR] is capable of commercially significant noninfringing uses" (while declining to give "precise content" to these terms). Ibid. (emphasis added).

      94

      It then applied this standard. The Court had before it a survey (commissioned by the District Court and then prepared by the respondents) showing that roughly 9% of all [545 U.S. 951] VCR recordings were of the type—namely, religious, educational, and sports programming—owned by producers and distributors testifying on Sony's behalf who did not object to time-shifting. See Brief for Respondents, O. T. 1983, No. 81-1687, pp. 52-53; see also Sony, supra, at 424 (7.3% of all Sony VCR use is to record sports programs; representatives of the sports leagues do not object). A much higher percentage of VCR users had at one point taped an authorized program, in addition to taping unauthorized programs. And the plaintiffs—not a large class of content providers as in this case—owned only a small percentage of the total available unauthorized programming. See ante, at 947, n. 3 (GINSBURG, J., concurring). But of all the taping actually done by Sony's customers, only around 9% was of the sort the Court referred to as authorized.

      95

      The Court found that the magnitude of authorized programming was "significant," and it also noted the "significant potential for future authorized copying." 464 U. S., at 444. The Court supported this conclusion by referencing the trial testimony of professional sports league officials and a religious broadcasting representative. Id., at 444, and n. 24. It also discussed (1) a Los Angeles educational station affiliated with the Public Broadcasting Service that made many of its programs available for home taping, and (2) Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, a widely watched children's program. Id., at 445. On the basis of this testimony and other similar evidence, the Court determined that producers of this kind had authorized duplication of their copyrighted programs "in significant enough numbers to create a substantial market for a noninfringing use of the" VCR. Id., at 447, n. 28 (emphasis added).

      96

      The Court, in using the key word "substantial," indicated that these circumstances alone constituted a sufficient basis for rejecting the imposition of secondary liability. See id., at 456 ("Sony demonstrated a significant likelihood that substantial numbers of copyright holders" would not object [545 U.S. 952] to time-shifting (emphasis added)). Nonetheless, the Court buttressed its conclusion by finding separately that, in any event, un-authorized time-shifting often constituted not infringement, but "fair use." Id., at 447-456.

      97
      B
      98

      When measured against Sony's underlying evidence and analysis, the evidence now before us shows that Grokster passes Sony's test—that is, whether the company's product is capable of substantial or commercially significant noninfringing uses. Id., at 442. For one thing, petitioners' (hereinafter MGM) own expert declared that 75% of current files available on Grokster are infringing and 15% are "likely infringing." See App. 436-439, ¶¶ 6-17 (Decl. of Dr. Ingram Olkin); cf. ante, at 922 (opinion of the Court). That leaves some number of files near 10% that apparently are noninfringing, a figure very similar to the 9% or so of authorized time-shifting uses of the VCR that the Court faced in Sony.

      99

      As in Sony, witnesses here explained the nature of the noninfringing files on Grokster's network without detailed quantification. Those files include:

      100

      —Authorized copies of music by artists such as Wilco, Janis Ian, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, and others. See App. 152-153, ¶¶ 9-13 (Decl. of Aram Sinnreich) (Wilco's "lesson has already been adopted by artists still signed to their major labels"); id., at 170, ¶¶ 5-7 (Decl. of Patricia D. Hoekman) (locating "numerous audio recordings" that were authorized for swapping); id., at 74, ¶ 10 (Decl. of Daniel B. Rung) (describing Grokster's partnership with a company that hosts music from thousands of independent artists)

      101

      —Free electronic books and other works from various online publishers, including Project Gutenberg. See id., at 136, ¶ 12 (Decl. of Gregory Newby) ("Numerous authorized and public domain Project Gutenberg eBooks are made available" on Grokster. Project Gutenberg "welcomes this widespread [545 U.S. 953] sharing . . . using these software products[,] since they assist us in meeting our objectives"); id., at 159-160, ¶ 32 (Decl. of Sinnreich)

      102

      —Public domain and authorized software, such as WinZip 8.1. Id., at 170, ¶ 8 (Decl. of Hoekman); id., at 165, ¶¶ 4-7 (Decl. of John Busher)

      103

      —Licensed music videos and television and movie segments distributed via digital video packaging with the permission of the copyright holder. Id., at 70, ¶ 24 (Decl. of Sean L. Mayers).

      104

      The nature of these and other lawfully swapped files is such that it is reasonable to infer quantities of current lawful use roughly approximate to those at issue in Sony. At least, MGM has offered no evidence sufficient to survive summary judgment that could plausibly demonstrate a significant quantitative difference. See ante, at 922 (opinion of the Court); see also Brief for Motion Picture Studio and Recording Company Petitioners i (referring to "at least 90% of the total use of the services"); but see ante, at 947, n. 3 (GINSBURG, J., concurring). To be sure, in quantitative terms these uses account for only a small percentage of the total number of uses of Grokster's product. But the same was true in Sony, which characterized the relatively limited authorized copying market as "substantial." (The Court made clear as well in Sony that the amount of material then presently available for lawful copying—if not actually copied— was significant, see 464 U. S., at 444, and the same is certainly true in this case.)

      105

      Importantly, Sony also used the word "capable," asking whether the product is "capable of" substantial noninfringing uses. Its language and analysis suggest that a figure like 10%, if fixed for all time, might well prove insufficient, but that such a figure serves as an adequate foundation where there is a reasonable prospect of expanded legitimate uses over time. See ibid. (noting a "significant potential for future authorized copying"). And its language also indicates [545 U.S. 954] the appropriateness of looking to potential future uses of the product to determine its "capability."

      106

      Here the record reveals a significant future market for noninfringing uses of Grokster-type peer-to-peer software. Such software permits the exchange of any sort of digital file—whether that file does, or does not, contain copyrighted material. As more and more uncopyrighted information is stored in swappable form, it seems a likely inference that lawful peer-to-peer sharing will become increasingly prevalent. See, e. g., App. 142, ¶ 20 (Decl. of Brewster Kahle) ("[T]he [Internet Archive] welcomes [the] redistribution [of authorized films] by the Morpheus-Grokster-KaZaa community of users"); id., at 166, ¶ 8 (Decl. of Busher) (sales figures of $1,000 to $10,000 per month through peer-to-peer networks "will increase in the future as Acoustica's trialware is more widely distributed through these networks"); id., at 156-163, ¶¶ 21-40 (Decl. of Sinnreich).

      107

      And that is just what is happening. Such legitimate noninfringing uses are coming to include the swapping of: research information (the initial purpose of many peer-to-peer networks); public domain films (e. g., those owned by the Prelinger Archive); historical recordings and digital educational materials (e. g., those stored on the Internet Archive); digital photos (OurPictures, for example, is starting a P2P photo-swapping service); "shareware" and "freeware" (e. g., Linux and certain Windows software); secure licensed music and movie files (Intent MediaWorks, for example, protects licensed content sent across P2P networks); news broadcasts past and present (the BBC Creative Archive lets users "rip, mix and share the BBC"); user-created audio and video files (including "podcasts" that may be distributed through P2P software); and all manner of free "open content" works collected by Creative Commons (one can search for Creative Commons material on StreamCast). See Brief for Distributed Computing Industry Association as Amicus Curiae 15-26; Merges, A New Dynamism in the Public Domain, 71 [545 U.S. 955] U. Chi. L. Rev. 183 (2004). I can find nothing in the record that suggests that this course of events will not continue to flow naturally as a consequence of the character of the software taken together with the foreseeable development of the Internet and of information technology. Cf. ante, at 920 (opinion of the Court) (discussing the significant benefits of peer-to-peer technology).

      108

      There may be other now-unforeseen noninfringing uses that develop for peer-to-peer software, just as the homevideo rental industry (unmentioned in Sony) developed for the VCR. But the foreseeable development of such uses, when taken together with an estimated 10% noninfringing material, is sufficient to meet Sony's standard. And while Sony considered the record following a trial, there are no facts asserted by MGM in its summary judgment filings that lead me to believe the outcome after a trial here could be any different. The lower courts reached the same conclusion.

      109

      Of course, Grokster itself may not want to develop these other noninfringing uses. But Sony's standard seeks to protect not the Groksters of this world (which in any event may well be liable under today's holding), but the development of technology more generally. And Grokster's desires in this respect are beside the point.

      110
      II
      111

      The real question here, I believe, is not whether the record evidence satisfies Sony. As I have interpreted the standard set forth in that case, it does. And of the Courts of Appeals that have considered the matter, only one has proposed interpreting Sony more strictly than I would do—in a case where the product might have failed under any standard. In re Aimster Copyright Litigation, 334 F. 3d 643, 653 (CA7 2003) (defendant "failed to show that its service is ever used for any purpose other than to infringe" copyrights (emphasis added)); see Matthew Bender & Co. v. West Pub. Co., 158 [545 U.S. 956] F. 3d 693, 706-707 (CA2 1998) (court did not require that noninfringing uses be "predominant," it merely found that they were predominant, and therefore provided no analysis of Sony's boundaries); but see ante, at 944, n. 1 (GINSBURG, J., concurring); see also A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F. 3d 1004, 1020 (CA9 2001) (discussing Sony); Cable/Home Communication Corp. v. Network Productions, Inc., 902 F. 2d 829, 842-847 (CA11 1990) (same); Vault Corp. v. Quaid Software, Ltd., 847 F. 2d 255, 262 (CA5 1988) (same); cf. Dynacore Holdings Corp. v. U. S. Philips Corp., 363 F. 3d 1263, 1275 (CA Fed. 2004) (same); see also Doe v. GTE Corp., 347 F. 3d 655, 661 (CA7 2003) ("A person may be liable as a contributory infringer if the product or service it sells has no (or only slight) legal use").

      112

      Instead, the real question is whether we should modify the Sony standard, as MGM requests, or interpret Sony more strictly, as I believe JUSTICE GINSBURG'S approach would do in practice. Compare ante, at 944-948 (concurring opinion) (insufficient evidence in this case of both present lawful uses and of a reasonable prospect that substantial noninfringing uses would develop over time), with Sony, 464 U. S., at 442-447 (basing conclusion as to the likely existence of a substantial market for authorized copying upon general declarations, some survey data, and common sense).

      113

      As I have said, Sony itself sought to "strike a balance between a copyright holder's legitimate demand for effective— not merely symbolic—protection of the statutory monopoly, and the rights of others freely to engage in substantially unrelated areas of commerce." Id., at 442. Thus, to determine whether modification, or a strict interpretation, of Sony is needed, I would ask whether MGM has shown that Sony incorrectly balanced copyright and new-technology interests. In particular: (1) Has Sony (as I interpret it) worked to protect new technology? (2) If so, would modification or strict interpretation significantly weaken that protection? (3) If [545 U.S. 957] so, would new or necessary copyright-related benefits outweigh any such weakening?

      114
      A
      115

      The first question is the easiest to answer. Sony's rule, as I interpret it, has provided entrepreneurs with needed assurance that they will be shielded from copyright liability as they bring valuable new technologies to market.

      116

      Sony's rule is clear. That clarity allows those who develop new products that are capable of substantial noninfringing uses to know, ex ante, that distribution of their product will not yield massive monetary liability. At the same time, it helps deter them from distributing products that have no other real function than—or that are specifically intended for—copyright infringement, deterrence that the Court's holding today reinforces (by adding a weapon to the copyright holder's legal arsenal).

      117

      Sony's rule is strongly technology protecting. The rule deliberately makes it difficult for courts to find secondary liability where new technology is at issue. It establishes that the law will not impose copyright liability upon the distributors of dual-use technologies (who do not themselves engage in unauthorized copying) unless the product in question will be used almost exclusively to infringe copyrights (or unless they actively induce infringements as we today describe). Sony thereby recognizes that the copyright laws are not intended to discourage or to control the emergence of new technologies, including (perhaps especially) those that help disseminate information and ideas more broadly or more efficiently. Thus Sony's rule shelters VCRs, typewriters, tape recorders, photocopiers, computers, cassette players, compact disc burners, digital video recorders, MP3 players, Internet search engines, and peer-to-peer software. But Sony's rule does not shelter descramblers, even if one could theoretically use a descrambler in a noninfringing way. 464 [545 U.S. 958] U. S., at 441-442. Compare Cable/Home Communication Corp., supra, at 837-850 (developer liable for advertising television signal descrambler), with Vault Corp., supra, at 262 (primary use infringing but a substantial noninfringing use).

      118

      Sony's rule is forward looking. It does not confine its scope to a static snapshot of a product's current uses (thereby threatening technologies that have undeveloped future markets). Rather, as the VCR example makes clear, a product's market can evolve dramatically over time. And Sony—by referring to a capacity for substantial noninfringing uses—recognizes that fact. Sony's word "capable" refers to a plausible, not simply a theoretical, likelihood that such uses will come to pass, and that fact anchors Sony in practical reality. Cf. Aimster, 334 F. 3d, at 651.

      119

      Sony's rule is mindful of the limitations facing judges where matters of technology are concerned. Judges have no specialized technical ability to answer questions about present or future technological feasibilility or commercial viability where technology professionals, engineers, and venture capitalists themselves may radically disagree and where answers may differ depending upon whether one focuses upon the time of product development or the time of distribution. Consider, for example, the question whether devices can be added to Grokster's software that will filter out infringing files. MGM tells us this is easy enough to do, as do several amici that produce and sell the filtering technology. See, e. g., Brief for Motion Picture Studio and Recording Company Petitioners 11; Brief for Audible Magic Corp. et al. as Amici Curiae 3-10. Grokster says it is not at all easy to do, and not an efficient solution in any event, and several apparently disinterested computer science professors agree. See Brief for Respondents 31; Brief for Computer Science Professor Harold Abelson et al. as Amici Curiae 6-10, 14-18. Which account should a judge credit? Sony says that the judge will not necessarily have to decide.

      120

      [545 U.S. 959] Given the nature of the Sony rule, it is not surprising that in the last 20 years, there have been relatively few contributory infringement suits—based on a product distribution theory—brought against technology providers (a small handful of federal appellate court cases and perhaps fewer than two dozen District Court cases in the last 20 years). I have found nothing in the briefs or the record that shows that Sony has failed to achieve its innovation-protecting objective.

      121
      B
      122

      The second, more difficult, question is whether a modified Sony rule (or a strict interpretation) would significantly weaken the law's ability to protect new technology. JUSTICE GINSBURG'S approach would require defendants to produce considerably more concrete evidence—more than was presented here—to earn Sony's shelter. That heavier evidentiary demand, and especially the more dramatic (case-by-case balancing) modifications that MGM and the Government seek, would, I believe, undercut the protection that Sony now offers.

      123

      To require defendants to provide, for example, detailed evidence—say, business plans, profitability estimates, projected technological modifications, and so forth—would doubtless make life easier for copyright holder plaintiffs. But it would simultaneously increase the legal uncertainty that surrounds the creation or development of a new technology capable of being put to infringing uses. Inventors and entrepreneurs (in the garage, the dorm room, the corporate lab, or the boardroom) would have to fear (and in many cases endure) costly and extensive trials when they create, produce, or distribute the sort of information technology that can be used for copyright infringement. They would often be left guessing as to how a court, upon later review of the product and its uses, would decide when necessarily rough estimates amounted to sufficient evidence. They would have no way to predict how courts would weigh the respective [545 U.S. 960] values of infringing and noninfringing uses; determine the efficiency and advisability of technological changes; or assess a product's potential future markets. The price of a wrong guess—even if it involves a good-faith effort to assess technical and commercial viability—could be large statutory damages (not less than $750 and up to $30,000 per infringed work). 17 U. S. C. § 504(c)(1). The additional risk and uncertainty would mean a consequent additional chill of technological development.

      124
      C
      125

      The third question—whether a positive copyright impact would outweigh any technology-related loss—I find the most difficult of the three. I do not doubt that a more intrusive Sony test would generally provide greater revenue security for copyright holders. But it is harder to conclude that the gains on the copyright swings would exceed the losses on the technology roundabouts.

      126

      For one thing, the law disfavors equating the two different kinds of gain and loss; rather, it leans in favor of protecting technology. As Sony itself makes clear, the producer of a technology which permits unlawful copying does not himself engage in unlawful copying—a fact that makes the attachment of copyright liability to the creation, production, or distribution of the technology an exceptional thing. See 464 U. S., at 431 (courts "must be circumspect" in construing the copyright laws to preclude distribution of new technologies). Moreover, Sony has been the law for some time. And that fact imposes a serious burden upon copyright holders like MGM to show a need for change in the current rules of the game, including a more strict interpretation of the test. See, e. g., Brief for Motion Picture Studio and Recording Company Petitioners 31 (Sony should not protect products when the "primary or principal" use is infringing).

      127

      In any event, the evidence now available does not, in my view, make out a sufficiently strong case for change. To say [545 U.S. 961] this is not to doubt the basic need to protect copyrighted material from infringement. The Constitution itself stresses the vital role that copyright plays in advancing the "useful Arts." Art. I, § 8, cl. 8. No one disputes that "reward to the author or artist serves to induce release to the public of the products of his creative genius." United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 U. S. 131, 158 (1948). And deliberate unlawful copying is no less an unlawful taking of property than garden-variety theft. See, e. g., 18 U. S. C. § 2319 (2000 ed. and Supp. II) (criminal copyright infringement); § 1961(1)(B) (2000 ed., Supp. II) (copyright infringement can be a predicate act under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act); § 1956(c)(7)(D) (2000 ed., Supp. II) (money laundering includes the receipt of proceeds from copyright infringement). But these highly general principles cannot by themselves tell us how to balance the interests at issue in Sony or whether Sony's standard needs modification. And at certain key points, information is lacking.

      128

      Will an unmodified Sony lead to a significant diminution in the amount or quality of creative work produced? Since copyright's basic objective is creation and its revenue objectives but a means to that end, this is the underlying copyright question. See Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken, 422 U. S. 151, 156 (1975) ("Creative work is to be encouraged and rewarded, but private motivation must ultimately serve the cause of promoting broad public availability of literature, music, and the other arts"). And its answer is far from clear.

      129

      Unauthorized copying likely diminishes industry revenue, though it is not clear by how much. Compare S. Liebowitz, Will MP3 Downloads Annihilate the Record Industry? The Evidence So Far 2 (June 2003), http://www.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/intprop/records.pdf (all Internet materials as visited June 24, 2005, and available in Clerk of Court's case file)

      130

      [545 U.S. 962] (file sharing has caused a decline in music sales), and Press Release, Informa Telecoms & Media, Steady Download Growth Defies P2P (Dec. 6, 2004), http://www.informatm.com (citing Informa Media Group Report, Music on the Internet (5th ed. 2004)) (estimating total lost sales to the music industry in the range of $2 billion annually), with F. Oberholzer & K. Strumpf, The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales: An Empirical Analysis 24 (Mar. 2004), www.unc.edu/~cigar/papers/FileSharing_March2004.pdf (academic study concluding that "file sharing has no statistically significant effect on purchases of the average album"), and D. McGuire, Study: File-Sharing No Threat to Music Sales (Mar. 29, 2004), http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A34300-2004Mar29?language=printer (discussing mixed evidence).

      131

      The extent to which related production has actually and resultingly declined remains uncertain, though there is good reason to believe that the decline, if any, is not substantial. See, e. g., M. Madden, Pew Internet & American Life Project, Artists, Musicians, and the Internet 21 (Dec. 5, 2004), http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Artists. Musicians_Report.pdf (nearly 70% of musicians believe that file sharing is a minor threat or no threat at all to creative industries); Benkler, Sharing Nicely: On Shareable Goods and the Emergence of Sharing as a Modality of Economic Production, 114 Yale L. J. 273, 351-352 (2004) ("Much of the actual flow of revenue to artists—from performances and other sources—is stable even assuming a complete displacement of the CD market by peer-to-peer distribution . . . . [I]t would be silly to think that music, a cultural form without which no human society has existed, will cease to be in our world [because of illegal file swapping]").

      132

      More importantly, copyright holders at least potentially have other tools available to reduce piracy and to abate whatever threat it poses to creative production. As today's opinion makes clear, a copyright holder may proceed against [545 U.S. 963] a technology provider where a provable specific intent to infringe (of the kind the Court describes) is present. Ante, at 941. Services like Grokster may well be liable under an inducement theory.

      133

      In addition, a copyright holder has always had the legal authority to bring a traditional infringement suit against one who wrongfully copies. Indeed, since September 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed "thousands of suits against people for sharing copyrighted material." Walker, New Movement Hits Universities: Get Legal Music, Washington Post, Mar. 17, 2005, p. E1. These suits have provided copyright holders with damages; have served as a teaching tool, making clear that much file sharing, if done without permission, is unlawful; and apparently have had a real and significant deterrent effect. See, e. g., L. Rainie, M. Madden, D. Hess, & G. Mudd, Pew Internet Project and comScore Media Metrix Data Memo: The state of music downloading and file-sharing online 2, 4, 6, 10 (Apr. 2004), http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Filesharing_April_04.pdf (number of people downloading files fell from a peak of roughly 35 million to roughly 23 million in the year following the first suits; 38% of current downloaders report downloading fewer files because of the suits); M. Madden & L. Rainie, Pew Internet Project Data Memo: Music and video downloading moves beyond P2P, p. 7 (Mar. 2005), http://www. pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Filesharing_March05.pdf (number of downloaders has "inched up" but "continues to rest well below the peak level"); Note, Costs and Benefits of the Recording Industry's Litigation Against Individuals, 20 Berkeley Tech. L. J. 571 (2005); but see Evangelista, File Sharing; Downloading Music and Movie Files is as Popular as Ever, San Francisco Chronicle, Mar. 28, 2005, p. E1 (referring to the continuing "tide of rampant copyright infringement," while noting that the RIAA says it believes the "campaign of lawsuits and public education has at least contained the problem").

      134

      [545 U.S. 964] Further, copyright holders may develop new technological devices that will help curb unlawful infringement. Some new technology, called "digital `watermarking'" and "digital fingerprint[ing]," can encode within the file information about the author and the copyright scope and date, which "fingerprints" can help to expose infringers. RIAA Reveals Method to Madness, Wired News (Aug. 28, 2003), http:// www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,60222,00.html; Besek, Anti-Circumvention Laws and Copyright: A Report from the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts, 27 Colum. J. L. & Arts 385, 391, 451 (2004). Other technology can, through encryption, potentially restrict users' ability to make a digital copy. See J. Borland, Tripping the Rippers, C/net News.com (Sept. 28, 2001), http://news.com.com/ Tripping+the+rippers/2009-1023_3-273619.html; but see Brief for Bridgemar Services, Ltd. d/b/a iMesh.com as Amicus Curiae 5-8 (arguing that peer-to-peer service providers can more easily block unlawful swapping).

      135

      At the same time, advances in technology have discouraged unlawful copying by making lawful copying (e. g., downloading music with the copyright holder's permission) cheaper and easier to achieve. Several services now sell music for less than $1 per song. (Walmart.com, for example, charges $0.88 each.) Consequently, many consumers initially attracted to the convenience and flexibility of services like Grokster are now migrating to lawful paid services (services with copying permission) where they can enjoy at little cost even greater convenience and flexibility without engaging in unlawful swapping. See Wu, When Code Isn't Law, 89 Va. L. Rev. 679, 731-735 (2003) (noting the prevalence of technological problems on unpaid swapping sites); K. Dean, P2P Tilts Toward Legitimacy, Wired News (Nov. 24, 2004), http://www.wired.com/news/ digiwood/0,1412,65836,00.html; Madden & Rainie, March 2005 Data Memo, supra, at 6-8 (percentage of current downloaders who have used paid services rose from 24% to 43% in a year; number using free services fell from 58% to 41%).

      136

      [545 U.S. 965] Thus, lawful music downloading services—those that charge the customer for downloading music and pay royalties to the copyright holder—have continued to grow and to produce substantial revenue. See Brief for Internet Law Faculty as Amicus Curiae 5-20; Bruno, Digital Entertainment: Piracy Fight Shows Encouraging Signs (Mar. 5, 2005), available at LEXIS, News Library, Billboard File (in 2004, consumers worldwide purchased more than 10 times the number of digital tracks purchased in 2003; global digital music market of $330 million in 2004 expected to double in 2005); Press Release, Informa Telecoms & Media, Steady Download Growth Defies P2P (global digital revenues will likely exceed $3 billion in 2010); Ashton, [International Federation of the Phonographic Industry] Predicts Downloads Will Hit the Mainstream, Music Week, Jan. 29, 2005, p. 6 (legal music sites and portable MP3 players "are helping to transform the digital music market" into "an everyday consumer experience"). And more advanced types of non-music-oriented peer-to-peer networks have also started to develop, drawing in part on the lessons of Grokster.

      137

      Finally, as Sony recognized, the legislative option remains available. Courts are less well suited than Congress to the task of "accommodat[ing] fully the varied permutations of competing interests that are inevitably implicated by such new technology." Sony, 464 U. S., at 431; see, e. g., Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, 106 Stat. 4237 (adding 17 U. S. C., ch. 10); Protecting Innovation and Art While Preventing Piracy: Hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 108th Cong., 2d Sess. (2004).

      138

      I do not know whether these developments and similar alternatives will prove sufficient, but I am reasonably certain that, given their existence, a strong demonstrated need for modifying Sony (or for interpreting Sony's standard more strictly) has not yet been shown. That fact, along with the added risks that modification (or strict interpretation) would impose upon technological innovation, leads me to the conclusion that we should maintain Sony, reading its standard as I [545 U.S. 966] have read it. As so read, it requires affirmance of the Ninth Circuit's determination of the relevant aspects of the Sony question.

      139

      * * *

      140

      For these reasons, I disagree with JUSTICE GINSBURG, but I agree with the Court and join its opinion.

      141

      Notes:

      142

      [*] Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the State of Utah et al. by Mark Shurtleff, Attorney General of Utah, and by the Attorneys General for their respective jurisdictions as follows: Troy King of Alabama, Gregg Renkes of Alaska, Terry Goddard of Arizona, Mike Beebe of Arkansas, M. Jane Brady of Delaware, Charles J. Crist, Jr., of Florida, Thurbert E. Baker of Georgia, Douglas B. Moylan of Guam, Mark J. Bennett of Hawaii, Lawrence G. Wasden of Idaho, Lisa Madigan of Illinois, Steve Carter of Indiana, Phill Kline of Kansas, Gregory D. Stumbo of Kentucky, Charles C. Foti, Jr., of Louisiana, Thomas F. Reilly of Massachusetts, Michael A. Cox of Michigan, Mike Hatch of Minnesota, Jim Hood of Mississippi, Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon of Missouri, Mike McGrath of Montana, Jon Bruning of Nebraska, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Peter C. Harvey of New Jersey, Patricia A. Madrid of New Mexico, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota, Jim Petro of Ohio, W. A. Drew Edmondson of Oklahoma, Thomas W. Corbett, Jr., of Pennsylvania, Patrick Lynch of Rhode Island, Henry McMaster of South Carolina, Lawrence E. Long of South Dakota, Paul G. Summers of Tennessee, Greg Abbott of Texas, William H. Sorrell of Vermont, Jerry Kilgore of Virginia, Darrell V. McGraw, Jr., of West Virginia, and Peg Lautenschlager of Wisconsin; for the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada et al. by George H. Cohen, Patricia Polach, and Laurence Gold; for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers et al. by I. Fred Koenigsberg, Michael E. Salzman, and Marvin L. Berenson; for Americans for Tax Reform by Carter G. Phillips, Alan Charles Raul, Jay T. Jorgensen, and Eric A. Shumsky; for the Commissioner of Baseball et al. by Robert Alan Garrett and Hadrian R. Katz; for Defenders of Property Rights by Theodore B. Olson, Thomas H. Dupree, Jr., Matthew D. McGill, Nancie G. Marzulla, and Roger Marzulla; for International Rights Owners by Christopher Wolf; for Kids First Coalition et al. by Viet D. Dinh; for Law Professors et al. by James Gibson; for Macrovision Corp. by Geoffrey L. Beauchamp, Kelly G. Huller, and James H. Salter; for Napster, LLC, et al. by Barry I. Slotnick; for the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., et al. by Jon A. Baumgarten and Jay L. Cooper; for the National Association of Broadcasters by Marsha J. MacBride, Jane E. Mago, Benjamin F. P. Ivins, and Jerianne Timmerman; for the National Association of Recording Merchandisers by Alan R. Malasky and Melanie Martin-Jones; for the Progress & Freedom Foundation by James V. DeLong; for the Video Software Dealers Association by John T. Mitchell; and for Professor Peter S. Menell et al. by Mr. Menell, pro se.

      143

      Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for Altnet, Inc., by Roderick G. Dorman; for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. by Christopher A. Hansen, Steven R. Shapiro, Sharon M. McGowan, Ann Brick, and Jordan C. Budd; for the American Conservative Union et al. by David Post; for the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association et al. by Andrew G. McBride, Joshua S. Turner, Michael Altschul, James W. Olson, Frank L. Politano, Laura Kaster, Jeffrey A. Rackow, Grier C. Raclin, Michael Standard, John Thorne, Sarah B. Deutsch, and Paul J. Larkin, Jr.; for the Consumer Electronics Association et al. by Bruce G. Joseph and Scott E. Bain; for the Consumer Federation of America et al. by Peter Jaszi; for the Distributed Computing Industry Association by Mr. Dorman; for the Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund by Andrew L. Schlafly and Karen B. Tripp; for the Free Software Foundation et al. by Eben Moglen; for Intel Corp. by James M. Burger and Jonathan D. Hart; for Internet Law Faculty by William W. Fisher III and Jonathan Zittrain; for Law Professors by J. Glynn Lunney, Jr.; for the National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Attorneys by Kevin P. Roddy and Matthew E. Van Tine; for Sixty Intellectual Property and Technology Law Professors et al. by Deirdre K. Mulligan and Pamela Samuelson; for Sovereign Artists et al. by James R. Wheaton; for Computer Science Professor Harold Abelson et al. by James S. Tyre; for Professor Edward Lee et al. by Mr. Lee, pro se; for Charles Nesson by Mr. Nesson, pro se; and for Malla Pollack et al. by Ms. Pollack, pro se.

      144

      Briefs of amici curiae were filed for the American Intellectual Property Law Association by Rick D. Nydegger and Melvin C. Garner; for Audible Magic Corp. et al. by Bruce V. Spiva and Jeremy H. Stern; for Bridgemar Services, Ltd. d/b/a iMesh.com by Jeffrey A. Kimmel; for the Business Software Alliance by E. Edward Bruce and Robert A. Long, Jr.; for Creative Commons by Lawrence Lessig; for the Digital Media Association et al. by Lawrence Robbins, Alan Untereiner, Markham C. Erickson, and Jerry Berman; for Emerging Technology Companies by Michael Traynor and Matthew D. Brown; for IEEE-USA by Matthew J. Conigliaro, Andrew C. Greenberg, Joseph H. Lang, Jr., and Daniel E. Fisher; for Innovation Scholars and Economists by Laurence F. Pulgram; for the Intellectual Property Owners Association by James H. Pooley; for Media Studies Professors by Roy I. Liebman; for the National Venture Capital Association by Michael K. Kellogg, Mark L. Evans, and David L. Schwarz; for Sharman Networks Limited by Mr. Dorman; for SNOCAP, Inc., by Joel W. Nomkin; for Kenneth J. Arrow et al. by David A. Strauss; for Lee A. Hollaar by Lloyd W. Sadler; for U. S. Senator Patrick Leahy et al. by Mr. Leahy, pro se, and Senator Orrin G. Hatch, pro se; and for Felix Oberholzer-Gee et al. by Carl H. Settlemyer III and Arnold P. Lutzker.

      145

      [1] Peer-to-peer networks have disadvantages as well. Searches on peer-to-peer networks may not reach and uncover all available files because search requests may not be transmitted to every computer on the network. There may be redundant copies of popular files. The creator of the software has no incentive to minimize storage or bandwidth consumption, the costs of which are borne by every user of the network. Most relevant here, it is more difficult to control the content of files available for retrieval and the behavior of users.

      146

      [2] The studios and recording companies and the songwriters and music publishers filed separate suits against the defendants that were consolidated by the District Court.

      147

      [3] Subsequent versions of Morpheus, released after the record was made in this case, apparently rely not on Gnutella but on a technology called Neonet. These developments are not before us.

      148

      [4] There is some evidence that both Grokster and StreamCast previously operated supernodes, which compiled indexes of files available on all of the nodes connected to them. This evidence, pertaining to previous versions of the defendants' software, is not before us and would not affect our conclusions in any event.

      149

      [5] By comparison, evidence introduced by the plaintiffs in A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F. 3d 1004 (CA9 2001), showed that 87% of files available on the Napster file-sharing network were copyrighted, id., at 1013.

      150

      [6] The Grokster founder contends that in answering these e-mails he often did not read them fully. App. 77, 769.

      151

      [7] The record makes clear that StreamCast developed these promotional materials but not whether it released them to the public. Even if these advertisements were not released to the public and do not show encouragement to infringe, they illuminate StreamCast's purposes.

      152

      [8] The mutual exclusivity of these values should not be overstated, however. On the one hand technological innovators, including those writing file-sharing computer programs, may wish for effective copyright protections for their work. See, e. g., Wu, When Code Isn't Law, 89 Va. L. Rev. 679, 750 (2003). (StreamCast itself was urged by an associate to "get [its] technology written down and [its intellectual property] protected." App. 866.) On the other hand the widespread distribution of creative works through improved technologies may enable the synthesis of new works or generate audiences for emerging artists. See Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U. S. 186, 223-226 (2003) (Stevens, J., dissenting); Van Houweling, Distributive Values in Copyright, 83 Texas L. Rev. 1535, 1539-1540, 1562-1564 (2005); Brief for Sovereign Artists et al. as Amici Curiae 11.

      153

      [9] We stated in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U. S. 417 (1984), that "`the lines between direct infringement, contributory infringement and vicarious liability are not clearly drawn' . . . . [R]easoned analysis of [the Sony plaintiffs' contributory infringement claim] necessarily entails consideration of arguments and case law which may also be forwarded under the other labels, and indeed the parties . . . rely upon such arguments and authority in support of their respective positions on the issue of contributory infringement," id., at 435, n. 17 (quoting Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Sony Corp. of America, 480 F. Supp. 429, 457-458 (CD Cal. 1979)). In the present case MGM has argued a vicarious liability theory, which allows imposition of liability when the defendant profits directly from the infringement and has a right and ability to supervise the direct infringer, even if the defendant initially lacks knowledge of the infringement. See, e. g., Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. v. H. L. Green Co., 316 F. 2d 304, 308 (CA2 1963); Dreamland Ball Room, Inc. v. Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., 36 F. 2d 354, 355 (CA7 1929). Because we resolve the case based on an inducement theory, there is no need to analyze separately MGM's vicarious liability theory.

      154

      [10] Nor does the Patent Act's exemption from liability for those who distribute a staple article of commerce, 35 U. S. C. § 271(c), extend to those who induce patent infringement, § 271(b).

      155

      [11] Inducement has been codified in patent law. Ibid.

      156

      [12] Of course, in the absence of other evidence of intent, a court would be unable to find contributory infringement liability merely based on a failure to take affirmative steps to prevent infringement, if the device otherwise was capable of substantial noninfringing uses. Such a holding would tread too close to the Sony safe harbor.

      157

      [13] Grokster and StreamCast contend that any theory of liability based on their conduct is not properly before this Court because the rulings in the trial and appellate courts dealt only with the present versions of their software, not "past acts . . . that allegedly encouraged infringement or assisted . . . known acts of infringement." Brief for Respondents 14; see also id., at 34. This contention misapprehends the basis for their potential liability. It is not only that encouraging a particular consumer to infringe a copyright can give rise to secondary liability for the infringement that results. Inducement liability goes beyond that, and the distribution of a product can itself give rise to liability where evidence shows that the distributor intended and encouraged the product to be used to infringe. In such a case, the culpable act is not merely the encouragement of infringement but also the distribution of the tool intended for infringing use. See Kalem Co. v. Harper Brothers, 222 U. S. 55, 62-63 (1911); Cable/Home Communication Corp. v. Network Productions, Inc., 902 F. 2d 829, 846 (CA11 1990); A&M Records, Inc. v. Abdallah, 948 F. Supp. 1449, 1456 (CD Cal. 1996).

      158

      ---------------

      159

      [14] JUSTICE BREYER finds in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U. S. 417 (1984), a "clear" rule permitting contributory liability for copyright infringement based on distribution of a product only when the product "will be used almost exclusively to infringe copyrights." Post, at 957. But cf. Sony, 464 U. S., at 442 (recognizing "copyright holder's legitimate demand for effective—not merely symbolic—protection"). Sony, as I read it, contains no clear, near-exclusivity test. Nor have Courts of Appeals unanimously recognized JUSTICE BREYER'S clear rule. Compare A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F. 3d 1004, 1021 (CA9 2001) ("[E]vidence of actual knowledge of specific acts of infringement is required to hold a computer system operator liable for contributory copyright infringement."), with In re Aimster Copyright Litigation, 334 F. 3d 643, 649-650 (CA7 2003) ("[W]hen a supplier is offering a product or service that has noninfringing as well as infringing uses, some estimate of the respective magnitudes of these uses is necessary for a finding of contributory infringement. . . . But the balancing of costs and benefits is necessary only in a case in which substantial noninfringing uses, present or prospective, are demonstrated."). See also Matthew Bender & Co. v. West Pub. Co., 158 F. 3d 693, 707 (CA2 1998) ("The Supreme Court applied [the Sony] test to prevent copyright holders from leveraging the copyrights in their original work to control distribution of . . . products that might be used incidentally for infringement, but that had substantial noninfringing uses. . . . The same rationale applies here [to products] that have substantial, predominant and noninfringing uses as tools for research and citation."). All Members of the Court agree, moreover, that "the Court of Appeals misapplied Sony," at least to the extent it read that decision to limit "secondary liability" to a hardly ever category, "quite beyond the circumstances to which the case applied." Ante, at 933.

      160

      [15] Grokster and StreamCast, in the Court of Appeals' view, would be entitled to summary judgment unless MGM could show that the software companies had knowledge of specific acts of infringement and failed to act on that knowledge—a standard the court held MGM could not meet. 380 F. 3d, at 1162-1163.

      161

      [16] JUSTICE BREYER finds support for summary judgment in this motley collection of declarations and in a survey conducted by an expert retained by MGM. Post, at 952-955. That survey identified 75% of the files available through Grokster as copyrighted works owned or controlled by the plaintiffs, and 15% of the files as works likely copyrighted. App. 439. As to the remaining 10% of the files, "there was not enough information to form reasonable conclusions either as to what those files even consisted of, and/or whether they were infringing or non-infringing." Id., at 479. Even assuming, as JUSTICE BREYER does, that the Sony Court would have absolved Sony of contributory liability solely on the basis of the use of the Betamax for authorized time-shifting, post, at 950-951, summary judgment is not inevitably appropriate here. Sony stressed that the plaintiffs there owned "well below 10%" of copyrighted television programming, 464 U. S., at 443, and found, based on trial testimony from representatives of the four major sports leagues and other individuals authorized to consent to home recording of their copyrighted broadcasts, that a similar percentage of program copying was authorized, id., at 424. Here, the plaintiffs allegedly control copyrights for 70% or 75% of the material exchanged through the Grokster and StreamCast software, 380 F. 3d 1154, 1158 (CA9 2004); App. 439, and the District Court does not appear to have relied on comparable testimony about authorized copying from copyright holders.

      162

      [17] The District Court's conclusion that "[p]laintiffs do not dispute that [d]efendants' software is being used, and could be used, for substantial noninfringing purposes," 259 F. Supp. 2d 1029, 1036 (CD Cal. 2003); accord 380 F. 3d, at 1161, is, to say the least, dubious. In the courts below and in this Court, MGM has continuously disputed any such conclusion. Brief for Motion Picture Studio and Recording Company Petitioners 30-38; Brief for MGM Plaintiffs-Appellants in No. 03-55894 etc. (CA9), p. 41; App. 356-357, 361-365.

    • 1.2 Perfect 10 v. Amazon.com (2007) [Part IV]

      1
      508 F.3d 1146
      2
      PERFECT 10, INC., a California corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant,
      v.
      AMAZON.COM, INC., a corporation; A9.Com Inc., a corporation, Defendants-Appellees.
      Perfect 10, Inc., a California corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant,
      v.
      Google Inc., a corporation, Defendant-Appellee.
      Perfect 10, Inc., a California corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee,
      v.
      Google Inc., a corporation, Defendant-Appellant.
      Perfect 10, Inc., a California corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant,
      v.
      Google Inc., a corporation, Defendant-Appellee.
      Perfect 10, Inc., a California corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee,
      v.
      Google Inc., a corporation, Defendant-Appellant.
      Perfect 10, Inc., a California corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee,
      v.
      Google Inc., a corporation, Defendant-Appellant.
      3
      No. 06-55405.
      4
      No. 06-55406.
      5
      No. 06-55425.
      6
      No. 06-55759.
      7
      No. 06-55854.
      8
      No. 06-55877.
      9
      United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
      10
      Argued and Submitted November 15, 2006.
      11
      Filed May 16, 2007.
      12
      Amended December 3, 2007.
      13

      [1153] Russell J. Frackman and Jeffrey D. Goldman, Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Los Angeles, CA, Jeffrey N. Mausner, Berman, Mausner & Resser, Los Angeles, CA, Daniel J. Cooper, Perfect 10, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA, for plaintiff-appellant Perfect 10, Inc.

      14

      Andrew P. Bridges and Jennifer A. Golinveaux, Winston & Strawn LLP, San Francisco, CA, Gene C. Schaerr, Winston & Strawn LLP, Washington, DC, for defendant-appellee and cross-appellant Google Inc.

      15

      Mark T. Jansen & Anthony J. Malutta, Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP, San Francisco, CA, for defendants-appellees Amazon.com and A9.com, Inc.

      16

      Fred von Lohmann, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, CA, for amicus curiae Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Library Association, Medical Library [1154] Association, American Association of Law Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, and Special Libraries Association in support of Google Inc.

      17

      Victor S. Perlman, of counsel, American Society of Media Photographers; Nancy E. Wolff, of counsel, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, LLP; Robert W. Clarida and Jason D. Sanders, Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C., New York, NY, for amicus curiae American Society of Media Photographers, Inc., Picture Archive Council of America, Inc., British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies, Inc., Stock Artists Alliance, The Graphic Artists Guild, American Society of Picture Professionals and National Press Photographers, in support of Perfect 10 on issue of Google's liability for the display of full-size images.

      18

      Eric J. Schwartz and Steven J. Metalitz, Smith & Metalitz LLP, Washington, DC, for amicus curiae Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. in support of Perfect 10.

      19

      Jonathan Band, Jonathan Band PLLC, Washington, DC, for amicus curiae Net-Coalition, Computer and Communications Industry Association, U.S. Internet Service Provider Association, Consumer Electronics Association, Home Recording Rights Coalition, Information Technology Association of America, and Internet Commerce Coalition in support of Google Inc.

      20

      Kenneth L. Doroshow and Linda J. Zirkelbach, Recording Industry Association of America, Washington, DC; Jacqueline C. Charlesworth, National Music Publishers' Association, Washington, DC; Robert W. Clarida, Richard S. Mandel and Jonathan Z. King, Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C., New York, NY, for amicus curiae Recording Industry Association of America and National Music Publishers' Association in support of neither party.

      21

      Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California; A. Howard Matz, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. Nos. CV-05-04753-AHM, CV-04-09484-AHM.

      22

      Before: CYNTHIA HOLCOMB HALL, HAWKINS, and SANDRA S. IKUTA, Circuit Judges.

      23

      IKUTA, Circuit Judge:

      24

      In this appeal, we consider a copyright owner's efforts to stop an Internet search engine from facilitating access to infringing images. Perfect 10, Inc. sued Google Inc., for infringing Perfect 10's copyrighted photographs of nude models, among other claims. Perfect 10 brought a similar action against Amazon.com and its subsidiary A9.com (collectively, "Amazon.com"). The district court preliminarily enjoined Google from creating and publicly displaying thumbnail versions of Perfect 10's images, Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc., 416 F.Supp.2d 828 (C.D.Cal.2006), but did not enjoin Google from linking to third-party websites that display infringing full-size versions of Perfect 10's images. Nor did the district court preliminarily enjoin Amazon.com from giving users access to information provided by Google. Perfect 10 and Google both appeal the district court's order. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1).[1]

      25

      [1155] The district court handled this complex case in a particularly thoughtful and skillful manner. Nonetheless, the district court erred on certain issues, as we will further explain below. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

      26
      I
      27
      Background
      28

      Google's computers, along with millions of others, are connected to networks known collectively as the "Internet." "The Internet is a world-wide network of networks ... all sharing a common communications technology." Religious Tech. Ctr. v. Netcom On-Line Commc'n Servs., Inc., 923 F.Supp. 1231, 1238 n. 1 (N.D.Cal.1995). Computer owners can provide information stored on their computers to other users connected to the Internet through a medium called a webpage. A webpage consists of text interspersed with instructions written in Hypertext Markup Language ("HTML") that is stored in a computer. No images are stored on a webpage; rather, the HTML instructions on the webpage provide an address for where the images are stored, whether in the webpage publisher's computer or some other computer. In general, webpages are publicly available and can be accessed by computers connected to the Internet through the use of a web browser.

      29

      Google operates a search engine, a software program that automatically accesses thousands of websites (collections of webpages) and indexes them within a database stored on Google's computers. When a Google user accesses the Google website and types in a search query, Google's software searches its database for websites responsive to that search query. Google then sends relevant information from its index of websites to the user's computer. Google's search engines can provide results in the form of text, images, or videos.

      30

      The Google search engine that provides responses in the form of images is called "Google Image Search." In response to a search query, Google Image Search identifies text in its database responsive to the query and then communicates to users the images associated with the relevant text. Google's software cannot recognize and index the images themselves. Google Image Search provides search results as a webpage of small images called "thumbnails," which are stored in Google's servers. The thumbnail images are reduced, lower-resolution versions of full-sized images stored on third-party computers.

      31

      When a user clicks on a thumbnail image, the user's browser program interprets HTML instructions on Google's webpage. These HTML instructions direct the user's browser to cause a rectangular area (a "window") to appear on the user's computer screen. The window has two separate areas of information. The browser fills the top section of the screen with information from the Google webpage, including the thumbnail image and text. The HTML instructions also give the user's browser the address of the website publisher's computer that stores the full-size version of the thumbnail.[2] By following [1156] the HTML instructions to access the third-party webpage, the user's browser connects to the website publisher's computer, downloads the full-size image, and makes the image appear at the bottom of the window on the user's screen. Google does not store the images that fill this lower part of the window and does not communicate the images to the user; Google simply provides HTML instructions directing a user's browser to access a third-party website. However, the top part of the window (containing the information from the Google webpage) appears to frame and comment on the bottom part of the window. Thus, the user's window appears to be filled with a single integrated presentation of the full-size image, but it is actually an image from a third-party website framed by information from Google's website. The process by which the webpage directs a user's browser to incorporate content from different computers into a single window is referred to as "in-line linking." Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp., 336 F.3d 811, 816 (9th Cir.2003). The term "framing" refers to the process by which information from one computer appears to frame and annotate the in-line linked content from another computer. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 833-34.

      32

      Google also stores webpage content in its cache.[3] For each cached webpage, Google's cache contains the text of the webpage as it appeared at the time Google indexed the page, but does not store images from the webpage. Id. at 833. Google may provide a link to a cached webpage in response to a user's search query. However, Google's cache version of the webpage is not automatically updated when the webpage is revised by its owner. So if the webpage owner updates its webpage to remove the HTML instructions for finding an infringing image, a browser communicating directly with the webpage would not be able to access that image. However, Google's cache copy of the webpage would still have the old HTML instructions for the infringing image. Unless the owner of the computer changed the HTML address of the infringing image, or otherwise rendered the image unavailable, a browser accessing Google's cache copy of the website could still access the image where it is stored on the website publisher's computer. In other words, Google's cache copy could provide a user's browser with valid directions to an infringing image even though the updated webpage no longer includes that infringing image.

      33

      In addition to its search engine operations, Google generates revenue through a business program called "AdSense." Under this program, the owner of a website can register with Google to become an AdSense "partner." The website owner then places HTML instructions on its webpages that signal Google's server to place advertising on the webpages that is relevant to the webpages' content. Google's computer program selects the advertising automatically by means of an algorithm. AdSense participants agree to share the revenues that flow from such advertising with Google.

      34

      [1157] Google also generated revenues through an agreement with Amazon.com that allowed Amazon.com to in-line link to Google's search results. Amazon.com gave its users the impression that Amazon.com was providing search results, but Google communicated the search results directly to Amazon.com's users. Amazon.com routed users' search queries to Google and automatically transmitted Google's responses (i.e., HTML instructions for linking to Google's search results) back to its users.

      35

      Perfect 10 markets and sells copyrighted images of nude models. Among other enterprises, it operates a subscription website on the Internet. Subscribers pay a monthly fee to view Perfect 10 images in a "members' area" of the site. Subscribers must use a password to log into the members' area. Google does not include these password-protected images from the members' area in Google's index or database. Perfect 10 has also licensed Fonestarz Media Limited to sell and distribute Perfect 10's reduced-size copyrighted images for download and use on cell phones.

      36

      Some website publishers republish Perfect 10's images on the Internet without authorization. Once this occurs, Google's search engine may automatically index the webpages containing these images and provide thumbnail versions of images in response to user inquiries. When a user clicks on the thumbnail image returned by Google's search engine, the user's browser accesses the third-party webpage and in-line links to the full-sized infringing image stored on the website publisher's computer. This image appears, in its original context, on the lower portion of the window on the user's computer screen framed by information from Google's webpage.

      37

      Procedural History. In May 2001, Perfect 10 began notifying Google that its thumbnail images and in-line linking to the full-size images infringed Perfect 10's copyright. Perfect 10 continued to send these notices through 2005.

      38

      On November 19, 2004, Perfect 10 filed an action against Google that included copyright infringement claims. This was followed by a similar action against Amazon.com on June 29, 2005. On July 1, 2005 and August 24, 2005, Perfect 10 sought a preliminary injunction to prevent Amazon.com and Google, respectively, from "copying, reproducing, distributing, publicly displaying, adapting or otherwise infringing, or contributing to the infringement" of Perfect 10's photographs; linking to websites that provide full-size infringing versions of Perfect 10's photographs; and infringing Perfect 10's username/password combinations.

      39

      The district court consolidated the two actions and heard both preliminary injunction motions on November 7, 2005. The district court issued orders granting in part and denying in part the preliminary injunction against Google and denying the preliminary injunction against Amazon.com. Perfect 10 and Google cross-appealed the partial grant and partial denial of the preliminary injunction motion, and Perfect 10 appealed the denial of the preliminary injunction against Amazon.com. On June 15, 2006, the district court temporarily stayed the preliminary injunction.

      40
      II
      41
      Standard of Review
      42

      We review the district court's grant or denial of a preliminary injunction for an abuse of discretion. A & M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004, 1013 (9th Cir.2001). The district court must support a preliminary injunction with findings of fact, which we review for clear error. Earth Island Inst. v. U.S. Forest Serv., 442 F.3d 1147, 1156 (9th Cir.2006). We review the district court's conclusions of law de novo. Napster, 239 F.3d at 1013.

      43

      [1158] Section 502(a) of the Copyright Act authorizes a court to grant injunctive relief "on such terms as it may deem reasonable to prevent or restrain infringement of a copyright." 17 U.S.C. § 502(a). "Preliminary injunctive relief is available to a party who demonstrates either: (1) a combination of probable success on the merits and the possibility of irreparable harm; or (2) that serious questions are raised and the balance of hardships tips in its favor. These two formulations represent two points on a sliding scale in which the required degree of irreparable harm increases as the probability of success decreases." Napster, 239 F.3d at 1013 (internal quotation and citation omitted).

      44

      Because Perfect 10 has the burden of showing a likelihood of success on the merits, the district court held that Perfect 10 also had the burden of demonstrating a likelihood of overcoming Google's fair use defense under 17 U.S.C. § 107. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 836-37. This ruling was erroneous. At trial, the defendant in an infringement action bears the burden of proving fair use. See Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 590, 114 S.Ct. 1164, 127 L.Ed.2d 500 (1994). Because "the burdens at the preliminary injunction stage track the burdens at trial," once the moving party has carried its burden of showing a likelihood of success on the merits, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to show a likelihood that its affirmative defense will succeed. Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418, 429, 126 S.Ct. 1211, 163 L.Ed.2d 1017 (2006); see also Abbott Labs. v. Andrx Pharms., Inc., 473 F.3d 1196, 1201 (Fed. Cir.2007) (to defeat a motion for preliminary injunctive relief in a patent infringement case, the non-moving party must establish a likelihood of success in proving its defenses of invalidity or unenforceability); PHG Techs., LLC v. St. John Cos., 469 F.3d 1361, 1365 (Fed.Cir.2006). Accordingly, once Perfect 10 has shown a likelihood of success on the merits, the burden shifts to Google to show a likelihood that its affirmative defenses will succeed.

      45

      In addition to its fair use defense, Google also raises an affirmative defense under title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), 17 U.S.C. § 512. Congress enacted title II of the DMCA "to provide greater certainty to service providers concerning their legal exposure for infringements that may occur in the course of their activities." Ellison v. Robertson, 357 F.3d 1072, 1076 (9th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation omitted). Sections 512(a) through (d) limit liability for (respectively): "(1) transitory digital network communications; (2) system caching; (3) information residing on systems or networks at the direction of users; and (4) information location tools." Id. at 1077. A service provider that qualifies for such protection is not liable for monetary relief and may be subject only to the narrow injunctive relief set forth in section 512(j). 17 U.S.C. § 512(a). If Perfect 10 demonstrates a likelihood of success on the merits, Google must show a likelihood of succeeding in its claim that it qualifies for protection under title II of the DMCA.[4][1159]

      46
      III
      47
      Direct Infringement
      48

      Perfect 10 claims that Google's search engine program directly infringes two exclusive rights granted to copyright holders: its display rights and its distribution rights.[5] "Plaintiffs must satisfy two requirements to present a prima facie case of direct infringement: (1) they must show ownership of the allegedly infringed material and (2) they must demonstrate that the alleged infringers violate at least one exclusive right granted to copyright holders under 17 U.S.C. § 106." Napster, 239 F.3d at 1013; see 17 U.S.C. § 501(a). Even if a plaintiff satisfies these two requirements and makes a prima facie case of direct infringement, the defendant may avoid liability if it can establish that its use of the images is a "fair use" as set forth in 17 U.S.C. § 107. See Kelly, 336 F.3d at 817.

      49

      Perfect 10's ownership of at least some of the images at issue is not disputed. See Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 836.

      50

      The district court held that Perfect 10 was likely to prevail in its claim that Google violated Perfect 10's display right with respect to the infringing thumbnails. Id. at 844. However, the district court concluded that Perfect 10 was not likely to prevail on its claim that Google violated either Perfect 10's display or distribution right with respect to its full-size infringing images. Id. at 844-45. We review these rulings for an abuse of discretion. Napster, 239 F.3d at 1013.

      51
      A. Display Right
      52

      In considering whether Perfect 10 made a prima facie case of violation of its display right, the district court reasoned that a computer owner that stores an image as electronic information and serves that electronic information directly to the user ("i.e., physically sending ones and zeroes over the [I]nternet to the user's browser," Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 839) is displaying the electronic information in violation of a copyright holder's exclusive display right. Id. at 843-45; see 17 U.S.C. § 106(5). Conversely, the owner of a computer that does not store and serve the electronic information to a user is not displaying that information, even if such owner in-line links to or frames the electronic information. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 843-45. The district court referred to this test as the "server test." Id. at 838-39.

      53

      Applying the server test, the district court concluded that Perfect 10 was likely to succeed in its claim that Google's thumbnails constituted direct infringement but was unlikely to succeed in its claim that Google's in-line linking to full-size infringing images constituted a direct infringement. [1160] Id. at 843-45. As explained below, because this analysis comports with the language of the Copyright Act, we agree with the district court's resolution of both these issues.

      54

      We have not previously addressed the question when a computer displays a copyrighted work for purposes of section 106(5). Section 106(5) states that a copyright owner has the exclusive right "to display the copyrighted work publicly." The Copyright Act explains that "display" means "to show a copy of it, either directly or by means of a film, slide, television image, or any other device or process...." 17 U.S.C. § 101. Section 101 defines "copies" as "material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." Id. Finally, the Copyright Act provides that "[a] work is `fixed' in a tangible medium of expression when its embodiment in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration." Id.

      55

      We must now apply these definitions to the facts of this case. A photographic image is a work that is "`fixed' in a tangible medium of expression," for purposes of the Copyright Act, when embodied (i.e., stored) in a computer's server (or hard disk, or other storage device). The image stored in the computer is the "copy" of the work for purposes of copyright law. See MAI Sys. Corp. v. Peak Computer, Inc., 991 F.2d 511, 517-18 (9th Cir.1993) (a computer makes a "copy" of a software program when it transfers the program from a third party's computer (or other storage device) into its own memory, because the copy of the program recorded in the computer is "fixed" in a manner that is "sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration" (quoting 17 U.S.C. § 101)). The computer owner shows a copy "by means of a ... device or process" when the owner uses the computer to fill the computer screen with the photographic image stored on that computer, or by communicating the stored image electronically to another person's computer. 17 U.S.C. § 101. In sum, based on the plain language of the statute, a person displays a photographic image by using a computer to fill a computer screen with a copy of the photographic image fixed in the computer's memory. There is no dispute that Google's computers store thumbnail versions of Perfect 10's copyrighted images and communicate copies of those thumbnails to Google's users.[6] Therefore, Perfect 10 has made a prima facie case that Google's communication of its stored thumbnail images directly infringes Perfect 10's display right.

      56

      Google does not, however, display a copy of full-size infringing photographic images for purposes of the Copyright Act when Google frames in-line linked images that appear on a user's computer screen. Because Google's computers do not store the photographic images, Google does not have a copy of the images for purposes of the Copyright Act. In other words, Google does not have any "material objects ... in [1161] which a work is fixed ... and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated" and thus cannot communicate a copy. 17 U.S.C. § 101.

      57

      Instead of communicating a copy of the image, Google provides HTML instructions that direct a user's browser to a website publisher's computer that stores the full-size photographic image. Providing these HTML instructions is not equivalent to showing a copy. First, the HTML instructions are lines of text, not a photographic image. Second, HTML instructions do not themselves cause infringing images to appear on the user's computer screen. The HTML merely gives the address of the image to the user's browser. The browser then interacts with the computer that stores the infringing image. It is this interaction that causes an infringing image to appear on the user's computer screen. Google may facilitate the user's access to infringing images. However, such assistance raises only contributory liability issues, see Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913, 929-30, 125 S.Ct. 2764, 162 L.Ed.2d 781 (2005), Napster, 239 F.3d at 1019, and does not constitute direct infringement of the copyright owner's display rights.

      58

      Perfect 10 argues that Google displays a copy of the full-size images by framing the full-size images, which gives the impression that Google is showing the image within a single Google webpage. While in-line linking and framing may cause some computer users to believe they are viewing a single Google webpage, the Copyright Act, unlike the Trademark Act, does not protect a copyright holder against acts that cause consumer confusion. Cf. 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1) (providing that a person who uses a trademark in a manner likely to cause confusion shall be liable in a civil action to the trademark registrant).[7]

      59

      Nor does our ruling that a computer owner does not display a copy of an image when it communicates only the HTML address of the copy erroneously collapse the display right in section 106(5) into the reproduction right set forth in section 106(1). Nothing in the Copyright Act prevents the various rights protected in section 106 from overlapping. Indeed, under some circumstances, more than one right must be infringed in order for an infringement claim to arise. For example, a "Game Genie" device that allowed a player to alter features of a Nintendo computer game did not infringe Nintendo's right to prepare derivative works because the Game Genie did not incorporate any portion of the game itself. See Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of Am., Inc., 964 F.2d 965, 967 (9th Cir.1992). We held that a copyright holder's right to create derivative works is not infringed unless the alleged derivative work "incorporate[s] a protected work in some concrete or permanent `form.'" Id. In other words, in some contexts, the claimant must be able to claim infringement of its reproduction right in order to claim infringement of its right to prepare derivative works.

      60

      [1162] Because Google's cache merely stores the text of webpages, our analysis of whether Google's search engine program potentially infringes Perfect 10's display and distribution rights is equally applicable to Google's cache. Perfect 10 is not likely to succeed in showing that a cached webpage that in-line links to full-size infringing images violates such rights. For purposes of this analysis, it is irrelevant whether cache copies direct a user's browser to third-party images that are no longer available on the third party's website, because it is the website publisher's computer, rather than Google's computer, that stores and displays the infringing image.

      61
      B. Distribution Right
      62

      The district court also concluded that Perfect 10 would not likely prevail on its claim that Google directly infringed Perfect 10's right to distribute its full-size images. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 844-45. The district court reasoned that distribution requires an "actual dissemination" of a copy. Id. at 844. Because Google did not communicate the full-size images to the user's computer, Google did not distribute these images. Id.

      63

      Again, the district court's conclusion on this point is consistent with the language of the Copyright Act. Section 106(3) provides that the copyright owner has the exclusive right "to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending." 17 U.S.C. § 106(3). As noted, "copies" means "material objects ... in which a work is fixed." 17 U.S.C. § 101. The Supreme Court has indicated that in the electronic context, copies may be distributed electronically. See N.Y. Times Co. v. Tasini, 533 U.S. 483, 498, 121 S.Ct. 2381, 150 L.Ed.2d 500 (2001) (a computer database program distributed copies of newspaper articles stored in its computerized database by selling copies of those articles through its database service). Google's search engine communicates HTML instructions that tell a user's browser where to find full-size images on a website publisher's computer, but Google does not itself distribute copies of the infringing photographs. It is the website publisher's computer that distributes copies of the images by transmitting the photographic image electronically to the user's computer. As in Tasini, the user can then obtain copies by downloading the photo or printing it.

      64

      Perfect 10 incorrectly relies on Hotaling v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Napster for the proposition that merely making images "available" violates the copyright owner's distribution right. Hotaling v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 118 F.3d 199 (4th Cir.1997); Napster, 239 F.3d 1004. Hotaling held that the owner of a collection of works who makes them available to the public may be deemed to have distributed copies of the works. Hotaling, 118 F.3d at 203. Similarly, the distribution rights of the plaintiff copyright owners were infringed by Napster users (private individuals with collections of music files stored on their home computers) when they used the Napster software to make their collections available to all other Napster users. Napster, 239 F.3d at 1011-14.

      65

      This "deemed distribution" rule does not apply to Google. Unlike the participants in the Napster system or the library in Hotaling, Google does not own a collection of Perfect 10's full-size images and does not communicate these images to the computers of people using Google's search engine. Though Google indexes these images, it does not have a collection of stored full-size images it makes available to the public. Google therefore cannot be deemed to distribute copies of these images under the reasoning of Napster or [1163] Hotaling. Accordingly, the district court correctly concluded that Perfect 10 does not have a likelihood of success in proving that Google violates Perfect 10's distribution rights with respect to full-size images.

      66
      C. Fair Use Defense
      67

      Because Perfect 10 has succeeded in showing it would prevail in its prima facie case that Google's thumbnail images infringe Perfect 10's display rights, the burden shifts to Google to show that it will likely succeed in establishing an affirmative defense. Google contends that its use of thumbnails is a fair use of the images and therefore does not constitute an infringement of Perfect 10's copyright. See 17 U.S.C. § 107.

      68

      The fair use defense permits the use of copyrighted works without the copyright owner's consent under certain situations. The defense encourages and allows the development of new ideas that build on earlier ones, thus providing a necessary counterbalance to the copyright law's goal of protecting creators' work product. "From the infancy of copyright protection, some opportunity for fair use of copyrighted materials has been thought necessary to fulfill copyright's very purpose...." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 575, 114 S.Ct. 1164. "The fair use doctrine thus `permits [and requires] courts to avoid rigid application of the copyright statute when, on occasion, it would stifle the very creativity which that law is designed to foster.'" Id. at 577, 114 S.Ct. 1164 (quoting Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207, 236, 110 S.Ct. 1750, 109 L.Ed.2d 184 (1990)) (alteration in original).

      69

      Congress codified the common law of fair use in 17 U.S.C. § 107, which provides:

      70

      Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

      (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

      (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

      (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

      (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

      The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

      71

      17 U.S.C. § 107.

      72

      We must be flexible in applying a fair use analysis; it "is not to be simplified with bright-line rules, for the statute, like the doctrine it recognizes, calls for case-by-case analysis.... Nor may the four statutory factors be treated in isolation, one from another. All are to be explored, and the results weighed together, in light of the purposes of copyright." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 577-78, 114 S.Ct. 1164; see also Kelly, 336 F.3d at 817-18. The purpose of copyright law is "[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts," U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 8, and to serve "`the welfare of the public.'" Sony Corp. of Am. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 429 n. 10, 104 S.Ct. 774, 78 L.Ed.2d 574 (quoting H.R.Rep. No. 2222, 60th Cong., 2d Sess. 7 (1909)).

      73

      [1164] In applying the fair use analysis in this case, we are guided by Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp., which considered substantially the same use of copyrighted photographic images as is at issue here. See 336 F.3d 811. In Kelly, a photographer brought a direct infringement claim against Arriba, the operator of an Internet search engine. The search engine provided thumbnail versions of the photographer's images in response to search queries. Id. at 815-16. We held that Arriba's use of thumbnail images was a fair use primarily based on the transformative nature of a search engine and its benefit to the public. Id. at 818-22. We also concluded that Arriba's use of the thumbnail images did not harm the photographer's market for his image. Id. at 821-22.

      74

      In this case, the district court determined that Google's use of thumbnails was not a fair use and distinguished Kelly. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 845-51. We consider these distinctions in the context of the four-factor fair use analysis.

      75

      Purpose and character of the use. The first factor, 17 U.S.C. § 107(1), requires a court to consider "the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes." The central purpose of this inquiry is to determine whether and to what extent the new work is "transformative." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579, 114 S.Ct. 1164. A work is "transformative" when the new work does not "merely supersede the objects of the original creation" but rather "adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message." Id. (internal quotation and alteration omitted). Conversely, if the new work "supersede[s] the use of the original," the use is likely not a fair use. Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enters., 471 U.S. 539, 550-51, 105 S.Ct. 2218, 85 L.Ed.2d 588 (1985) (internal quotation omitted) (publishing the "heart" of an unpublished work and thus supplanting the copyright holder's first publication right was not a fair use); see also Wall Data Inc. v. L.A. County Sheriff's Dep't, 447 F.3d 769, 778-82 (9th Cir.2006) (using a copy to save the cost of buying additional copies of a computer program was not a fair use).[8]

      76

      As noted in Campbell, a "transformative work" is one that alters the original work [1165] "with new expression, meaning, or message." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579, 114 S.Ct. 1164. "A use is considered transformative only where a defendant changes a plaintiff's copyrighted work or uses the plaintiff's copyrighted work in a different context such that the plaintiff's work is transformed into a new creation." Wall Data, 447 F.3d at 778.

      77

      Google's use of thumbnails is highly transformative. In Kelly, we concluded that Arriba's use of thumbnails was transformative because "Arriba's use of the images serve[d] a different function than Kelly's use—improving access to information on the [I]nternet versus artistic expression." Kelly, 336 F.3d at 819. Although an image may have been created originally to serve an entertainment, aesthetic, or informative function, a search engine transforms the image into a pointer directing a user to a source of information. Just as a "parody has an obvious claim to transformative value" because "it can provide social benefit, by shedding light on an earlier work, and, in the process, creating a new one," Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579, 114 S.Ct. 1164, a search engine provides social benefit by incorporating an original work into a new work, namely, an electronic reference tool. Indeed, a search engine may be more transformative than a parody because a search engine provides an entirely new use for the original work, while a parody typically has the same entertainment purpose as the original work. See, e.g., id. at 594-96, 114 S.Ct. 1164 (holding that 2 Live Crew's parody of "Oh, Pretty Woman" using the words "hairy woman" or "bald headed woman" was a transformative work, and thus constituted a fair use); Mattel, Inc. v. Walking Mountain Prods., 353 F.3d 792, 796-98, 800-06 (9th Cir.2003) (concluding that photos parodying Barbie by depicting "nude Barbie dolls juxtaposed with vintage kitchen appliances" was a fair use). In other words, a search engine puts images "in a different context" so that they are "transformed into a new creation." Wall Data, 447 F.3d at 778.

      78

      The fact that Google incorporates the entire Perfect 10 image into the search engine results does not diminish the transformative nature of Google's use. As the district court correctly noted, Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 848-49, we determined in Kelly that even making an exact copy of a work may be transformative so long as the copy serves a different function than the original work, Kelly, 336 F.3d at 818-19. For example, the First Circuit has held that the republication of photos taken for a modeling portfolio in a newspaper was transformative because the photos served to inform, as well as entertain. See Nunez v. Caribbean Int'l News Corp., 235 F.3d 18, 22-23 (1st Cir.2000). In contrast, duplicating a church's religious book for use by a different church was not transformative. See Worldwide Church of God v. Phila. Church of God, Inc., 227 F.3d 1110, 1117 (9th Cir.2000). Nor was a broadcaster's simple retransmission of a radio broadcast over telephone lines transformative, where the original radio shows were given no "new expression, meaning, or message." Infinity Broad. Corp. v. Kirkwood, 150 F.3d 104, 108 (2d Cir.1998). Here, Google uses Perfect 10's images in a new context to serve a different purpose.

      79

      The district court nevertheless determined that Google's use of thumbnail images was less transformative than Arriba's use of thumbnails in Kelly because Google's use of thumbnails superseded Perfect 10's right to sell its reduced-size images for use on cell phones. See Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 849. The district court stated that "mobile users can download and save the thumbnails displayed by Google Image Search onto their phones," and concluded "to the extent that users may choose to download free images to their [1166] phone rather than purchase [Perfect 10's] reduced-size images, Google's use supersedes [Perfect 10's]." Id.

      80

      Additionally, the district court determined that the commercial nature of Google's use weighed against its transformative nature. Id. Although Kelly held that the commercial use of the photographer's images by Arriba's search engine was less exploitative than typical commercial use, and thus weighed only slightly against a finding of fair use, Kelly, 336 F.3d at 818-20, the district court here distinguished Kelly on the ground that some website owners in the AdSense program had infringing Perfect 10 images on their websites, Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 846-47. The district court held that because Google's thumbnails "lead users to sites that directly benefit Google's bottom line," the AdSense program increased the commercial nature of Google's use of Perfect 10's images. Id. at 847.

      81

      In conducting our case-specific analysis of fair use in light of the purposes of copyright, Campbell, 510 U.S. at 581, 114 S.Ct. 1164, we must weigh Google's superseding and commercial uses of thumbnail images against Google's significant transformative use, as well as the extent to which Google's search engine promotes the purposes of copyright and serves the interests of the public. Although the district court acknowledged the "truism that search engines such as Google Image Search provide great value to the public," Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 848-49, the district court did not expressly consider whether this value outweighed the significance of Google's superseding use or the commercial nature of Google's use. Id. at 849. The Supreme Court, however, has directed us to be mindful of the extent to which a use promotes the purposes of copyright and serves the interests of the public. See Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579, 114 S.Ct. 1164; Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 556-57, 105 S.Ct. 2218; Sony, 464 U.S. at 431-32, 104 S.Ct. 774.

      82

      We note that the superseding use in this case is not significant at present: the district court did not find that any downloads for mobile phone use had taken place. See Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 849. Moreover, while Google's use of thumbnails to direct users to AdSense partners containing infringing content adds a commercial dimension that did not exist in Kelly, the district court did not determine that this commercial element was significant. See id. at 848-49. The district court stated that Google's AdSense programs as a whole contributed "$630 million, or 46% of total revenues" to Google's bottom line, but noted that this figure did not "break down the much smaller amount attributable to websites that contain infringing content." Id. at 847 & n. 12 (internal quotation omitted).

      83

      We conclude that the significantly transformative nature of Google's search engine, particularly in light of its public benefit, outweighs Google's superseding and commercial uses of the thumbnails in this case. In reaching this conclusion, we note the importance of analyzing fair use flexibly in light of new circumstances. Sony, 464 U.S. at 431-32, 104 S.Ct. 774; id. at 448 n. 31, 104 S.Ct. 774 ("`[Section 107] endorses the purpose and general scope of the judicial doctrine of fair use, but there is no disposition to freeze the doctrine in the statute, especially during a period of rapid technological change.'" (quoting H.R.Rep. No. 94-1476, p. 65-66 (1976), U.S.Code Cong. & Admin. News 1976, p. 5680)). We are also mindful of the Supreme Court's direction that "the more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579, 114 S.Ct. 1164.

      84

      [1167] Accordingly, we disagree with the district court's conclusion that because Google's use of the thumbnails could supersede Perfect 10's cell phone download use and because the use was more commercial than Arriba's, this fair use factor weighed "slightly" in favor of Perfect 10. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 849. Instead, we conclude that the transformative nature of Google's use is more significant than any incidental superseding use or the minor commercial aspects of Google's search engine and website. Therefore, this factor weighs heavily in favor of Google.

      85

      The nature of the copyrighted work. With respect to the second factor, "the nature of the copyrighted work," 17 U.S.C. § 107(2), our decision in Kelly is directly on point. There we held that the photographer's images were "creative in nature" and thus "closer to the core of intended copyright protection than are more fact-based works." Kelly, 336 F.3d at 820 (internal quotation omitted). However, because the photos appeared on the Internet before Arriba used thumbnail versions in its search engine results, this factor weighed only slightly in favor of the photographer. Id.

      86

      Here, the district court found that Perfect 10's images were creative but also previously published. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 850. The right of first publication is "the author's right to control the first public appearance of his expression." Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 564, 105 S.Ct. 2218. Because this right encompasses "the choices of when, where, and in what form first to publish a work," id., an author exercises and exhausts this one-time right by publishing the work in any medium. See, e.g., Batjac Prods. Inc. v. Good-Times Home Video Corp., 160 F.3d 1223, 1235 (9th Cir.1998) (noting, in the context of the common law right of first publication, that such a right "does not entail multiple first publication rights in every available medium"). Once Perfect 10 has exploited this commercially valuable right of first publication by putting its images on the Internet for paid subscribers, Perfect 10 is no longer entitled to the enhanced protection available for an unpublished work. Accordingly the district court did not err in holding that this factor weighed only slightly in favor of Perfect 10.[9] See Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 849-50.

      87

      The amount and substantiality of the portion used. "The third factor asks whether the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole ... are reasonable in relation to the purpose of the copying." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 586, 114 S.Ct. 1164 (internal quotation omitted); see also 17 U.S.C. § 107(3). In Kelly, we held Arriba's use of the entire photographic image was reasonable in light of the purpose of a search engine. Kelly, 336 F.3d at 821. Specifically, we noted, "[i]t was necessary for Arriba to copy the entire image to allow users to recognize the image and decide whether to pursue more information about the image or the originating [website]. If Arriba only copied part of the image, it would be more difficult to identify it, thereby reducing the usefulness of the visual search engine." Id. Accordingly, we concluded that this factor did not weigh in favor of either [1168] party. Id. Because the same analysis applies to Google's use of Perfect 10's image, the district court did not err in finding that this factor favored neither party.

      88

      Effect of use on the market. The fourth factor is "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work." 17 U.S.C. § 107(4). In Kelly, we concluded that Arriba's use of the thumbnail images did not harm the market for the photographer's full-size images. See Kelly, 336 F.3d at 821-22. We reasoned that because thumbnails were not a substitute for the full-sized images, they did not harm the photographer's ability to sell or license his full-sized images. Id. The district court here followed Kelly's reasoning, holding that Google's use of thumbnails did not hurt Perfect 10's market for full-size images. See Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 850-51. We agree.

      89

      Perfect 10 argues that the district court erred because the likelihood of market harm may be presumed if the intended use of an image is for commercial gain. However, this presumption does not arise when a work is transformative because "market substitution is at least less certain, and market harm may not be so readily inferred." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 591, 114 S.Ct. 1164. As previously discussed, Google's use of thumbnails for search engine purposes is highly transformative, and so market harm cannot be presumed.

      90

      Perfect 10 also has a market for reduced-size images, an issue not considered in Kelly. The district court held that "Google's use of thumbnails likely does harm the potential market for the downloading of [Perfect 10's] reduced-size images onto cell phones." Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 851 (emphasis omitted). The district court reasoned that persons who can obtain Perfect 10 images free of charge from Google are less likely to pay for a download, and the availability of Google's thumbnail images would harm Perfect 10's market for cell phone downloads. Id. As we discussed above, the district court did not make a finding that Google users have downloaded thumbnail images for cell phone use. This potential harm to Perfect 10's market remains hypothetical. We conclude that this factor favors neither party.

      91

      Having undertaken a case-specific analysis of all four factors, we now weigh these factors together "in light of the purposes of copyright." Campbell, 510 U.S. at 578, 114 S.Ct. 1164; see also Kelly, 336 F.3d at 818 ("We must balance[the section 107] factors in light of the objectives of copyright law, rather than view them as definitive or determinative tests."). In this case, Google has put Perfect 10's thumbnail images (along with millions of other thumbnail images) to a use fundamentally different than the use intended by Perfect 10. In doing so, Google has provided a significant benefit to the public. Weighing this significant transformative use against the unproven use of Google's thumbnails for cell phone downloads, and considering the other fair use factors, all in light of the purpose of copyright, we conclude that Google's use of Perfect 10's thumbnails is a fair use. Because the district court here "found facts sufficient to evaluate each of the statutory factors ... [we] need not remand for further factfinding." Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 560, 105 S.Ct. 2218 (internal quotation omitted). We conclude that Google is likely to succeed in proving its fair use defense and, accordingly, we vacate the preliminary injunction regarding Google's use of thumbnail images.

      92
      IV
      93
      Secondary Liability for Copyright Infringement
      94

      We now turn to the district court's ruling that Google is unlikely to be secondarily [1169] liable for its in-line linking to infringing full-size images under the doctrines of contributory and vicarious infringement.[10] The district court ruled that Perfect 10 did not have a likelihood of proving success on the merits of either its contributory infringement or vicarious infringement claims with respect to the full-size images. See Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 856, 858. In reviewing the district court's conclusions, we are guided by the Supreme Court's recent interpretation of secondary liability, namely: "[o]ne infringes contributorily by intentionally inducing or encouraging direct infringement, and infringes vicariously by profiting from direct infringement while declining to exercise a right to stop or limit it." Grokster, 545 U.S. at 930, 125 S.Ct. 2764 (internal citations omitted).

      95

      Direct Infringement by Third Parties. As a threshold matter, before we examine Perfect 10's claims that Google is secondarily liable, Perfect 10 must establish that there has been direct infringement by third parties. See Napster, 239 F.3d at 1013 n. 2 ("Secondary liability for copyright infringement does not exist in the absence of direct infringement by a third party.").

      96

      Perfect 10 alleges that third parties directly infringed its images in three ways. First, Perfect 10 claims that third-party websites directly infringed its copyright by reproducing, displaying, and distributing unauthorized copies of Perfect 10's images. Google does not dispute this claim on appeal.

      97

      Second, Perfect 10 claims that individual users of Google's search engine directly infringed Perfect 10's copyrights by storing full-size infringing images on their computers. We agree with the district court's conclusion that Perfect 10 failed to provide sufficient evidence to support this claim. See Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 852. There is no evidence in the record directly establishing that users of Google's search engine have stored infringing images on their computers, and the district court did not err in declining to infer the existence of such evidence.

      98

      Finally, Perfect 10 contends that users who link to infringing websites automatically make "cache" copies of full-size images and thereby directly infringe Perfect 10's reproduction right. The district court rejected this argument, holding that any such reproduction was likely a "fair use." Id. at 852 n. 17. The district court reasoned that "[l]ocal caching by the browsers of individual users is noncommercial, transformative, and no more than necessary to achieve the objectives of decreasing network latency and minimizing unnecessary bandwidth usage (essential to the [I]nternet). It has a minimal impact on the potential market for the original work...." Id. We agree; even assuming such automatic copying could constitute direct infringement, it is a fair use in this context. The copying function performed automatically by a user's computer to assist in accessing the Internet is a transformative use. Moreover, as noted by the district court, a cache copies no more than is necessary to assist the user in Internet use. It is designed to enhance an individual's computer use, not to supersede the copyright holders' exploitation of their works. Such automatic background copying has no more than a minimal effect on Perfect 10's rights, but a considerable public benefit. Because the four fair use factors weigh in favor of concluding that [1170] cache copying constitutes a fair use, Google has established a likelihood of success on this issue. Accordingly, Perfect 10 has not carried its burden of showing that users' cache copies of Perfect 10's full-size images constitute direct infringement.

      99

      Therefore, we must assess Perfect 10's arguments that Google is secondarily liable in light of the direct infringement that is undisputed by the parties: third-party websites' reproducing, displaying, and distributing unauthorized copies of Perfect 10's images on the Internet. Id. at 852.

      100
      A. Contributory Infringement
      101

      In order for Perfect 10 to show it will likely succeed in its contributory liability claim against Google, it must establish that Google's activities meet the definition of contributory liability recently enunciated in Grokster. Within the general rule that "[o]ne infringes contributorily by intentionally inducing or encouraging direct infringement," Grokster, 545 U.S. at 930, 125 S.Ct. 2764, the Court has defined two categories of contributory liability: "Liability under our jurisprudence may be predicated on actively encouraging (or inducing) infringement through specific acts (as the Court's opinion develops) or on distributing a product distributees use to infringe copyrights, if the product is not capable of `substantial' or `commercially significant' noninfringing uses." Id. at 942, 125 S.Ct. 2764 (Ginsburg, J., concurring) (quoting Sony, 464 U.S. at 442, 104 S.Ct. 774); see also id. at 936-37, 125 S.Ct. 2764.

      102

      Looking at the second category of liability identified by the Supreme Court (distributing products), Google relies on Sony, 464 U.S. at 442, 104 S.Ct. 774, to argue that it cannot be held liable for contributory infringement because liability does not arise from the mere sale of a product (even with knowledge that consumers would use the product to infringe) if the product is capable of substantial non-infringing use. Google argues that its search engine service is such a product. Assuming the principle enunciated in Sony is applicable to the operation of Google's search engine, then Google cannot be held liable for contributory infringement solely because the design of its search engine facilitates such infringement. Grokster, 545 U.S. at 931-32, 125 S.Ct. 2764 (discussing Sony, 464 U.S. 417, 104 S.Ct. 774, 78 L.Ed.2d 574). Nor can Google be held liable solely because it did not develop technology that would enable its search engine to automatically avoid infringing images. See id. at 939 n. 12, 125 S.Ct. 2764. However, Perfect 10 has not based its claim of infringement on the design of Google's search engine and the Sony rule does not immunize Google from other sources of contributory liability. See id. at 933-34, 125 S.Ct. 2764.

      103

      We must next consider whether Google could be held liable under the first category of contributory liability identified by the Supreme Court, that is, the liability that may be imposed for intentionally encouraging infringement through specific acts.[11] Grokster tells us that contribution to infringement must be intentional for liability to arise. Grokster, 545 U.S. at 930, 125 S.Ct. 2764. However, Grokster also directs us to analyze contributory liability in light of "rules of fault-based liability derived from the common law," id. at 934-35, 125 S.Ct. 2764, and [1171] common law principles establish that intent may be imputed. "Tort law ordinarily imputes to an actor the intention to cause the natural and probable consequences of his conduct." DeVoto v. Pac. Fid. Life Ins. Co., 618 F.2d 1340, 1347 (9th Cir. 1980); RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF TORTS § 8A cmt. b (1965) ("If the actor knows that the consequences are certain, or substantially certain, to result from his act, and still goes ahead, he is treated by the law as if he had in fact desired to produce the result."). When the Supreme Court imported patent law's "staple article of commerce doctrine" into the copyright context, it also adopted these principles of imputed intent. Grokster, 545 U.S. at 932, 125 S.Ct. 2764 ("The [staple article of commerce] doctrine was devised to identify instances in which it may be presumed from distribution of an article in commerce that the distributor intended the article to be used to infringe another's patent, and so may justly be held liable for that infringement."). Therefore, under Grokster, an actor may be contributorily liable for intentionally encouraging direct infringement if the actor knowingly takes steps that are substantially certain to result in such direct infringement.

      104

      Our tests for contributory liability are consistent with the rule set forth in Grokster. We have adopted the general rule set forth in Gershwin Publishing Corp. v. Columbia Artists Management, Inc., namely: "one who, with knowledge of the infringing activity, induces, causes or materially contributes to the infringing conduct of another, may be held liable as a `contributory' infringer," 443 F.2d 1159, 1162 (2d Cir.1971). See Ellison, 357 F.3d at 1076; Napster, 239 F.3d at 1019; Fonovisa, Inc. v. Cherry Auction, Inc., 76 F.3d 259, 264 (9th Cir.1996).

      105

      We have further refined this test in the context of cyberspace[12] to determine when contributory liability can be imposed on a provider of Internet access or services. See Napster, 239 F.3d at 1019-20. In Napster, we considered claims that the operator of an electronic file sharing system was contributorily liable for assisting individual users to swap copyrighted music files stored on their home computers with other users of the system. Napster, 239 F.3d at 1011-13, 1019-22. We stated that "if a computer system operator learns of specific infringing material available on his system and fails to purge such material from the system, the operator knows of and contributes to direct infringement." Id. at 1021. Because Napster knew of the availability of infringing music files, assisted users in accessing such files, and failed to block access to such files, we concluded that Napster materially contributed to infringement. Id. at 1022.

      106

      The Napster test for contributory liability was modeled on the influential district court decision in Religious Technology Center v. Netcom On-Line Communication Services, Inc. (Netcom), 907 F.Supp. 1361, 1365-66 (N.D.Cal.1995). See Napster, 239 F.3d at 1021. In Netcom, a disgruntled former Scientology minister posted allegedly infringing copies of Scientological works on an electronic bulletin board service. Netcom, 907 F.Supp. at 1365-66. The messages were stored on the bulletin board operator's computer, then automatically copied onto Netcom's computer, and from there copied onto other computers comprising "a worldwide community" of electronic bulletin board systems. Id. at 1366-67 & n. 4 (internal quotation omitted). Netcom held that if plaintiffs [1172] could prove that Netcom knew or should have known that the minister infringed plaintiffs' copyrights, "Netcom [would] be liable for contributory infringement since its failure to simply cancel [the former minister's] infringing message and thereby stop an infringing copy from being distributed worldwide constitute[d] substantial participation in [the former minister's] public distribution of the message." Id. at 1374.

      107

      Although neither Napster nor Netcom expressly required a finding of intent, those cases are consistent with Grokster because both decisions ruled that a service provider's knowing failure to prevent infringing actions could be the basis for imposing contributory liability. Under such circumstances, intent may be imputed. In addition, Napster and Netcom are consistent with the longstanding requirement that an actor's contribution to infringement must be material to warrant the imposition of contributory liability. Gershwin, 443 F.2d at 1162. Both Napster and Netcom acknowledge that services or products that facilitate access to websites throughout the world can significantly magnify the effects of otherwise immaterial infringing activities. See Napster, 239 F.3d at 1022; Netcom, 907 F.Supp. at 1375. The Supreme Court has acknowledged that "[t]he argument for imposing indirect liability" is particularly "powerful" when individuals using the defendant's software could make a huge number of infringing downloads every day. Grokster, 545 U.S. at 929, 125 S.Ct. 2764. Moreover, copyright holders cannot protect their rights in a meaningful way unless they can hold providers of such services or products accountable for their actions pursuant to a test such as that enunciated in Napster. See id. at 929-30, 125 S.Ct. 2764 ("When a widely shared service or product is used to commit infringement, it may be impossible to enforce rights in the protected work effectively against all direct infringers, the only practical alternative being to go against the distributor of the copying device for secondary liability on a theory of contributory or vicarious infringement."). Accordingly, we hold that a computer system operator can be held contributorily liable if it "has actual knowledge that specific infringing material is available using its system," Napster, 239 F.3d at 1022, and can "take simple measures to prevent further damage" to copyrighted works, Netcom, 907 F.Supp. at 1375, yet continues to provide access to infringing works.

      108

      Here, the district court held that even assuming Google had actual knowledge of infringing material available on its system, Google did not materially contribute to infringing conduct because it did not undertake any substantial promotional or advertising efforts to encourage visits to infringing websites, nor provide a significant revenue stream to the infringing websites. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 854-56. This analysis is erroneous. There is no dispute that Google substantially assists websites to distribute their infringing copies to a worldwide market and assists a worldwide audience of users to access infringing materials. We cannot discount the effect of such a service on copyright owners, even though Google's assistance is available to all websites, not just infringing ones. Applying our test, Google could be held contributorily liable if it had knowledge that infringing Perfect 10 images were available using its search engine, could take simple measures to prevent further damage to Perfect 10's copyrighted works, and failed to take such steps.

      109

      The district court did not resolve the factual disputes over the adequacy of Perfect 10's notices to Google and Google's responses to these notices. Moreover, there are factual disputes over whether there are reasonable and feasible means for Google to refrain from providing access [1173] to infringing images. Therefore, we must remand this claim to the district court for further consideration whether Perfect 10 would likely succeed in establishing that Google was contributorily liable for in-line linking to full-size infringing images under the test enunciated today.[13]

      110
      B. Vicarious Infringement
      111

      Perfect 10 also challenges the district court's conclusion that it is not likely to prevail on a theory of vicarious liability against Google. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 856-58. Grokster states that one "infringes vicariously by profiting from direct infringement while declining to exercise a right to stop or limit it." Grokster, 545 U.S. at 930, 125 S.Ct. 2764. As this formulation indicates, to succeed in imposing vicarious liability, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant exercises the requisite control over the direct infringer and that the defendant derives a direct financial benefit from the direct infringement. See id. Grokster further explains the "control" element of the vicarious liability test as the defendant's "right and ability to supervise the direct infringer." Id. at 930 n. 9, 125 S.Ct. 2764. Thus, under Grokster, a defendant exercises control over a direct infringer when he has both a legal right to stop or limit the directly infringing conduct, as well as the practical ability to do so.

      112

      We evaluate Perfect 10's arguments that Google is vicariously liable in light of the direct infringement that is undisputed by the parties, namely, the third-party websites' reproduction, display, and distribution of unauthorized copies of Perfect 10's images on the Internet. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 852; see supra Section IV.A. In order to prevail at this preliminary injunction stage, Perfect 10 must demonstrate a likelihood of success in establishing that Google has the right and ability to stop or limit the infringing activities of third party websites. In addition, Perfect 10 must establish a likelihood of proving that Google derives a direct financial benefit from such activities. Perfect 10 has not met this burden.

      113

      With respect to the "control" element set forth in Grokster, Perfect 10 has not demonstrated a likelihood of showing that Google has the legal right to stop or limit the direct infringement of third-party websites. See Grokster, 545 U.S. at 930, 125 S.Ct. 2764. Unlike Fonovisa, where by virtue of a "broad contract" with its vendors the defendant swap meet operators had the right to stop the vendors from selling counterfeit recordings on its premises, Fonovisa, 76 F.3d at 263, Perfect 10 has not shown that Google has contracts with third-party websites that empower Google to stop or limit them from reproducing, displaying, and distributing infringing copies of Perfect 10's images on the Internet. Perfect 10 does point to Google's AdSense agreement, which states that Google reserves "the right to monitor and terminate partnerships with entities that violate others' copyright[s]." Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 858. However, Google's right to terminate an AdSense partnership does not give Google the right to [1174] stop direct infringement by third-party websites. An infringing third-party website can continue to reproduce, display, and distribute its infringing copies of Perfect 10 images after its participation in the AdSense program has ended.

      114

      Nor is Google similarly situated to Napster. Napster users infringed the plaintiffs' reproduction and distribution rights through their use of Napster's proprietary music-file sharing system. Napster, 239 F.3d at 1011-14. There, the infringing conduct was the use of Napster's "service to download and upload copyrighted music." Id. at 1014 (internal quotation omitted). Because Napster had a closed system requiring user registration, and could terminate its users' accounts and block their access to the Napster system, Napster had the right and ability to prevent its users from engaging in the infringing activity of uploading file names and downloading Napster users' music files through the Napster system.[14] Id. at 1023-24. By contrast, Google cannot stop any of the third-party websites from reproducing, displaying, and distributing unauthorized copies of Perfect 10's images because that infringing conduct takes place on the third-party websites. Google cannot terminate those third-party websites or block their ability to "host and serve infringing full-size images" on the Internet. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 831.

      115

      Moreover, the district court found that Google lacks the practical ability to police the third-party websites' infringing conduct. Id. at 857-58. Specifically, the court found that Google's supervisory power is limited because "Google's software lacks the ability to analyze every image on the [I]nternet, compare each image to all the other copyrighted images that exist in the world ... and determine whether a certain image on the web infringes someone's copyright." Id. at 858. The district court also concluded that Perfect 10's suggestions regarding measures Google could implement to prevent its web crawler from indexing infringing websites and to block access to infringing images were not workable. Id. at 858 n. 25. Rather, the suggestions suffered from both "imprecision and overbreadth." Id. We hold that these findings are not clearly erroneous. Without image-recognition technology, Google lacks the practical ability to police the infringing activities of third-party websites. This distinguishes Google from the defendants held liable in Napster and Fonovisa. See Napster, 239 F.3d at 1023-24 (Napster had the ability to identify and police infringing conduct by searching its index for song titles); Fonovisa, 76 F.3d at 262 (swap meet operator had the ability to identify and police infringing activity by patrolling its premises).

      116

      Perfect 10 argues that Google could manage its own operations to avoid [1175] indexing websites with infringing content and linking to third-party infringing sites. This is a claim of contributory liability, not vicarious liability. Although "the lines between direct infringement, contributory infringement, and vicarious liability are not clearly drawn," Sony, 464 U.S. at 435 n. 17, 104 S.Ct. 774 (internal quotation omitted), in general, contributory liability is based on the defendant's failure to stop its own actions which facilitate third-party infringement, while vicarious liability is based on the defendant's failure to cause a third party to stop its directly infringing activities. See, e.g., Ellison, 357 F.3d at 1077-78; Fonovisa, 76 F.3d at 261-64. Google's failure to change its operations to avoid assisting websites to distribute their infringing content may constitute contributory liability, see supra Section IV.A. However, this failure is not the same as declining to exercise a right and ability to make third-party websites stop their direct infringement. We reject Perfect 10's efforts to blur this distinction.

      117

      Because we conclude that Perfect 10 has not shown a likelihood of establishing Google's right and ability to stop or limit the directly infringing conduct of third-party websites, we agree with the district court's conclusion that Perfect 10 "has not established a likelihood of proving the [control] prong necessary for vicarious liability." Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 858.[15]

      118
      C. Digital Millennium Copyright Act
      119

      Google claims that it qualifies for the limitations on liability set forth in title II of the DMCA, 17 U.S.C. § 512. In particular, section 512(d) limits the liability of a service provider "for infringement of copyright by reason of the provider referring or linking users to an online location containing infringing material or infringing activity, by using information location tools, including a directory, index, reference, pointer, or hypertext link" if the service provider meets certain criteria. We have held that the limitations on liability contained in 17 U.S.C. § 512 protect secondary infringers as well as direct infringers. Napster, 239 F.3d at 1025.

      120

      The parties dispute whether Google meets the specified criteria. Perfect 10 claims that it sent qualifying notices to Google and Google did not act expeditiously to remove the infringing material. Google claims that Perfect 10's notices did not comply with the notice provisions of section 512 and were not adequate to inform Google of the location of the infringing images on the Internet or identify the underlying copyrighted work. Google also claims that it responded to all notices it received by investigating the webpages identified by Perfect 10 and suppressing links to any webpages that Google confirmed were infringing.

      121

      Because the district court determined that Perfect 10 was unlikely to succeed on its contributory and vicarious liability claims, it did not reach Google's arguments under section 512. In revisiting the question of Perfect 10's likelihood of success on its contributory infringement claims, the district court should also consider whether Google would likely succeed in showing that it was entitled to the limitations on injunctive relief provided by title II of the DMCA.

      122
      V
      123
      Amazon.com
      124

      Perfect 10 claims that Amazon.com displays and distributes Perfect 10's copyrighted images and is also secondarily [1176] liable for the infringements of third-party websites and Amazon.com users. The district court concluded that Perfect 10 was unlikely to succeed in proving that Amazon.com was a direct infringer, because it merely in-line linked to the thumbnails on Google's servers and to the full-size images on third-party websites.[16] Perfect 10 v. Amazon, No. 05-4753, consolidated with 04-9484 (C.D.Cal. February 21, 2006) (order denying preliminary injunction). In addition, the district court concluded that Perfect 10's secondary infringement claims against Amazon.com were likely to fail because Amazon.com had no program analogous to AdSense, and thus did not provide any revenues to infringing sites. Id. Finally, the district court determined that Amazon.com's right and ability to control the infringing conduct of third-party websites was substantially less than Google's. Id. Therefore, the district court denied Perfect 10's motion for a preliminary injunction against Amazon.com. Id.

      125

      We agree that Perfect 10 has not shown a likelihood that it would prevail on the merits of its claim that Amazon.com directly infringed its images. Amazon.com communicates to its users only the HTML instructions that direct the users' browsers to Google's computers (for thumbnail images) or to a third party's computer (for full-size infringing images). Therefore, Amazon.com does not display or distribute a copy of the thumbnails or full-size images to its users.

      126

      We also agree with the district court's conclusion that Amazon.com does not have "the right and ability to supervise the infringing activity" of Google or third parties. The district court did not clearly err in concluding that Amazon.com lacked a direct financial interest in such activities. Therefore, Perfect 10's claim that Amazon.com is vicariously liable for third-party infringement is unlikely to succeed.

      127

      However, the district court did not consider whether Amazon.com had "actual knowledge that specific infringing material is available using its system," Napster, 239 F.3d at 1022 (emphasis in original), and could have "take[n] simple measures to prevent further damage" to copyrighted works, Netcom, 907 F.Supp. at 1375, yet continued to provide access to infringing works. Perfect 10 has presented evidence that it notified Amazon.com that it was facilitating its users' access to infringing material. It is disputed whether the notices gave Amazon.com actual knowledge of specific infringing activities available using its system, and whether Amazon.com could have taken reasonable and feasible steps to refrain from providing access to such images, but failed to do so. Nor did the district court consider whether Amazon.com is entitled to limit its liability under title II of the DMCA. On remand, the district court should consider Amazon.com's potential contributory liability, as well as possible limitations on the scope of injunctive relief, in light of our rulings today.

      128
      VI
      129

      We conclude that Google's fair use defense is likely to succeed at trial, and therefore we reverse the district court's determination that Google's thumbnail versions of Perfect 10's images likely constituted a direct infringement. The district court also erred in its secondary liability [1177] analysis because it failed to consider whether Google and Amazon.com knew of infringing activities yet failed to take reasonable and feasible steps to refrain from providing access to infringing images. Therefore we must also reverse the district court's holding that Perfect 10 was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its secondary liability claims. Due to this error, the district court did not consider whether Google and Amazon.com are entitled to the limitations on liability set forth in title II of the DMCA. The question whether Google and Amazon.com are secondarily liable, and whether they can limit that liability pursuant to title II of the DMCA, raise fact-intensive inquiries, potentially requiring further fact finding, and thus can best be resolved by the district court on remand. We therefore remand this matter to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

      130

      Because the district court will need to reconsider the appropriate scope of injunctive relief after addressing these secondary liability issues, we do not address the parties' arguments regarding the scope of the injunction issued by the district court. For the same reason, we do not address the parties' dispute over whether the district court abused its discretion in determining that Perfect 10 satisfied the irreparable harm element of a preliminary injunction.

      131

      Therefore, we reverse the district court's ruling and vacate the preliminary injunction regarding Google's use of thumbnail versions of Perfect 10's images.[17] We reverse the district court's rejection of the claims that Google and Amazon.com are secondarily liable for infringement of Perfect 10's full-size images. We otherwise affirm the rulings of the district court. We remand this matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Each party shall bear its own costs on appeal. See FED. R. APP. P. 39(a)(4).

      132

      AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED IN PART; REMANDED.

      133

      [1] Google argues that we lack jurisdiction over the preliminary injunction to the extent it enforces unregistered copyrights. Registration is generally a jurisdictional prerequisite to a suit for copyright infringement. See 17 U.S.C. § 411. But section 411 does not limit the remedies a court can grant. Rather, the Copyright Act gives courts broad authority to issue injunctive relief. See 17 U.S.C. § 502(a). Once a court has jurisdiction over an action for copyright infringement under section 411, the court may grant injunctive relief to restrain infringement of any copyright, whether registered or unregistered. See, e.g., Olan Mills, Inc. v. Linn Photo Co., 23 F.3d 1345, 1349 (8th Cir.1994); Pac. & S. Co., Inc. v. Duncan, 744 F.2d 1490, 1499 n. 17 (11th Cir.1984). Because at least some of the Perfect 10 images at issue were registered, the district court did not err in determining that it could issue an order that covers unregistered works. Therefore, we have jurisdiction over the district court's decision and order.

      134

      [2] The website publisher may not actually store the photographic images used on its webpages in its own computer, but may provide HTML instructions directing the user's browser to some further computer that stores the image. Because this distinction does not affect our analysis, for convenience, we will assume that the website publisher stores all images used on its webpages in the website publisher's own computer.

      135

      [3] Generally, a "cache" is "a computer memory with very short access time used for storage of frequently or recently used instructions or data." United States v. Ziegler, 474 F.3d 1184, 1186 n. 3 (9th Cir.2007) (quoting MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY 171 (11th ed.2003)). There are two types of caches at issue in this case. A user's personal computer has an internal cache that saves copies of webpages and images that the user has recently viewed so that the user can more rapidly revisit these webpages and images. Google's computers also have a cache which serves a variety of purposes. Among other things, Google's cache saves copies of a large number of webpages so that Google's search engine can efficiently organize and index these webpages.

      136

      [4] Perfect 10 argues that we are bound by the language and structure of title II of the DMCA in determining Google's liability for copyright infringement. We have noted that the DMCA does not change copyright law; rather, "Congress provided that [the DMCA's] limitations of liability apply if the provider is found to be liable under existing principles of law." Ellison, 357 F.3d at 1077 (emphasis and internal quotation omitted). As a result, "[c]laims against service providers for direct, contributory, or vicarious copyright infringement, therefore, are generally evaluated just as they would be in the non-online world." Id.; see also 17 U.S.C. § 512(l) ("The failure of a service provider's conduct to qualify for limitation of liability under this section shall not bear adversely upon the consideration of a defense by the service provider that the service provider's conduct is not infringing under this title or any other defense."). Therefore, we must consider Google's potential liability under the Copyright Act without reference to title II of the DMCA.

      137

      [5] 17 U.S.C. § 106 states, in pertinent part:

      138

      Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

      (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

      ....

      (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

      ....

      (5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly....

      139

      [6] Because Google initiates and controls the storage and communication of these thumbnail images, we do not address whether an entity that merely passively owns and manages an Internet bulletin board or similar system violates a copyright owner's display and distribution rights when the users of the bulletin board or similar system post infringing works. Cf. CoStar Group, Inc. v. LoopNet, Inc., 373 F.3d 544 (4th Cir.2004).

      140

      [7] Perfect 10 also argues that Google violates Perfect 10's right to display full-size images because Google's in-line linking meets the Copyright Act's definition of "to perform or display a work `publicly.'" 17 U.S.C. § 101. This phrase means "to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to ... the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times." Id. Perfect 10 is mistaken. Google's activities do not meet this definition because Google transmits or communicates only an address which directs a user's browser to the location where a copy of the full-size image is displayed. Google does not communicate a display of the work itself.

      141

      [8] We reject at the outset Perfect 10's argument that providing access to infringing websites cannot be deemed transformative and is inherently not fair use. Perfect 10 relies on Video Pipeline, Inc. v. Buena Vista Home Entm't, Inc., 342 F.3d 191 (3d Cir.2003), and Atari Games Corp. v. Nintendo of Am. Inc., 975 F.2d 832, 843 (Fed.Cir.1992). But these cases, in essence, simply apply the general rule that a party claiming fair use must act in a manner generally compatible with principles of good faith and fair dealing. See Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 562-63, 105 S.Ct. 2218. For this reason, a company whose business is based on providing scenes from copyrighted movies without authorization could not claim that it provided the same public benefit as the search engine in Kelly. See Video Pipeline, 342 F.3d at 198-200. Similarly, a company whose overriding desire to replicate a competitor's computer game led it to obtain a copy of the competitor's source code from the Copyright Office under false pretenses could not claim fair use with respect to its purloined copy. Atari Games, 975 F.2d at 843.

      142

      Unlike the alleged infringers in Video Pipeline and Atari Games, who intentionally misappropriated the copyright owners' works for the purpose of commercial exploitation, Google is operating a comprehensive search engine that only incidentally indexes infringing websites. This incidental impact does not amount to an abuse of the good faith and fair dealing underpinnings of the fair use doctrine. Accordingly, we conclude that Google's inclusion of thumbnail images derived from infringing websites in its Internet-wide search engine activities does not preclude Google from raising a fair use defense.

      143

      [9] Google contends that Perfect 10's photographic images are less creative and less deserving of protection than the images of the American West in Kelly because Perfect 10 boasts of its un-retouched photos showing the natural beauty of its models. Having reviewed the record, we conclude that the district court's finding that Perfect 10's photographs "consistently reflect professional, skillful, and sometimes tasteful artistry" is not clearly erroneous. Perfect 10, 416 F.Supp.2d at 849 n. 15. We agree with the district court that there is no basis for concluding that photos of the American West are more deserving of protection than photos of nude models. See id.

      144

      [10] Because the district court concluded that Perfect 10 was likely to prevail on its direct infringement claim with respect to Google's use of thumbnails, but not with respect to its in-line linking to full-size images, the district court considered Google's potential secondary liability only on the second issue.

      145

      [11] Google's activities do not meet the "inducement" test explained in Grokster because Google has not promoted the use of its search engine specifically to infringe copyrights. See Grokster, 545 U.S. at 935-37, 125 S.Ct. 2764. However, the Supreme Court in Grokster did not suggest that a court must find inducement in order to impose contributory liability under common law principles.

      146

      [12] "Cyberspace is a popular term for the world of electronic communications over computer networks." Religious Tech. Ctr. v. Netcom On-Line Commc'n Servs., Inc., 907 F.Supp. 1361, 1365 n. 1 (N.D.Cal.1995).

      147

      [13] Perfect 10 claims that Google materially contributed to infringement by linking to websites containing unauthorized passwords, which enabled Google users to access Perfect 10's website and make infringing copies of images. However, Perfect 10 points to no evidence that users logging onto the Perfect 10 site with unauthorized passwords infringed Perfect 10's exclusive rights under section 106. In the absence of evidence that Google's actions led to any direct infringement, this argument does not assist Perfect 10 in establishing that it would prevail on the merits of its contributory liability claim. See Napster, 239 F.3d at 1013 n. 2 ("Secondary liability for copyright infringement does not exist in the absence of direct infringement by a third party.").

      148

      [14] Napster's system included "Napster's MusicShare software, available free of charge from Napster's Internet site, and Napster's network servers and server-side software." Napster, 239 F.3d at 1011. By downloading Napster's MusicShare software to the user's personal computer, and registering with the Napster system, a user could both upload and download music files. Id. at 1011-13. If the Napster user uploaded a list of music files stored on the user's personal computer to the Napster system, such music files would be automatically available to other Napster users whenever the user was logged on to the Napster system. Id. at 1012. In addition, the Napster user could download music files directly from other users' personal computers. Id. We explained the infringing conduct as "Napster users who upload file names to the [Napster] search index for others to copy violate plaintiffs' distribution rights. Napster users who download files [through the Napster system] containing copyrighted music violate plaintiffs' reproduction rights." Id. at 1014.

      149

      [15] Having so concluded, we need not reach Perfect 10's argument that Google received a direct financial benefit.

      150

      [16] Amazon.com states that it ended its relationship with Google on April 30, 2006. Perfect 10's action for preliminary injunction against Amazon.com is not moot, however, because Amazon.com has not established "that the allegedly wrongful behavior cannot reasonably be expected to recur." F.T.C. v. Affordable Media, LLC, 179 F.3d 1228, 1238 (9th Cir.1999) (internal quotation omitted).

      151

      [17] Because we vacate the injunction, Google's motion for stay of the injunction is moot.

    • 1.3 Viacom v. YouTube (2012)

      Viacom v. YouTube (2012)

      1

      102 U.S.P.Q.2d 1283
      2012 Copr.L.Dec. P 30,231
      676 F.3d 19

      VIACOM INTERNATIONAL, INC., Comedy Partners, Country Music Television, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, Black Entertainment Television, LLC, Plaintiffs–Appellants,
      v.
      YOUTUBE, INC., YouTube, LLC, Google, Inc., Defendants–Appellees.The Football Association Premier League Limited, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Bourne Co., Cal IV Entertainment, LLC, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., X–Ray Dog Music, Inc., Fédération Française De Tennis, Murbo Music Publishing, Inc., Stage Three Music (US), Inc., Plaintiffs–Appellants,Robert Tur, d/b/a Los Angeles News Service, The Scottish Premier League Limited, The Music Force Media Group LLC, The Music Force, LLC, Sin–Drome Records, Ltd., on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, National Music Publishers' Association, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, Edward B. Marks Music Company, Freddy Bienstock Music Company, d/b/a Bienstock Publishing Company, Alley Music Corporation, Plaintiffs,
      v.
      YouTube, Inc., YouTube, LLC, Google, Inc., Defendants–Appellees.

      Docket Nos. 10–3270–cv

      10–3342–cv.

      United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

      Argued: Oct. 18, 2011. Decided: April 5, 2012.

      2

      [676 F.3d 22] Paul M. Smith, Jenner & Block LLP, Washington, DC (William M. Hohengarten, Scott B. Wilkens, Matthew S. Hellman, and Susan J. Kohlmann, Jenner & Block LLP, New York, NY, and Washington, DC; Theodore B. Olson and Matthew D. McGill, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Washington, DC; Stuart J. Baskin, Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York, NY, on the brief), for Plaintiffs–Appellants Viacom International, Inc., et al.

      3

      Charles S. Sims, Proskauer Rose LLP, New York, N.Y. (William M. Hart, Noah Siskind Gitterman, and Elizabeth A. Figueira, Proskauer Rose LLP, New York, NY, on the brief), for Plaintiffs–Appellants Football Association Premier League Ltd., et al.; Max W. Berger and John C. Browne, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, New York, NY, on the brief, for Plaintiffs–Appellants Football Association Premier League Ltd., Bourne Co., Murbo Music Publishing, Inc., Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co., Inc., X–Ray Dog Music, Inc., and Fédération Française de Tennis; Louis M. Solomon and Hal S. Shaftel, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, LLP, New York, NY, on the brief, for Plaintiff–Appellant Football Association Premier League Ltd.; Jacqueline C. Charlesworth and Cindy P. Abramson, Morrison & Foerster, New York, NY, and David S. Stellings and Annika K. Martin, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, New York, NY, on the brief, for Plaintiff–Appellant Stage Three Music (US), Inc., and Plaintiffs–Appellants National Music Publishers' Association, Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, Edward B. Marks Music Co., Freddy Bienstock Music Co. d/b/a Bienstock Publishing Co., [676 F.3d 23] and Alley Music Corporation; Daniel Girard and Christina Connolly Sharp, Girard Gibbs LLP, San Francisco, CA, David Garrison, Barrett Johnston & Parsley, Nashville, TN, and Kevin Doherty, Burr & Forman LLP, Nashville, TN, on the brief, for Plaintiff–Appellant Cal IV Entertainment LLC; Christopher Lovell and Christopher M. McGrath, Lovell Stewart Halebian LLP, New York, NY, Jeffrey L. Graubart, Pasadena, CA, and Steve D'Onofrio, Washington, DC, for Plaintiffs The Music Force Media Group LLC, The Music Force, LLC, and Sin–Drome Records, Ltd.

      4

      Andrew H. Schapiro, Mayer Brown LLP, New York, N.Y. (A. John P. Mancini and Brian M. Willen, Mayer Brown LLP, New York, NY; David H. Kramer, Michael H. Rubin, and Bart E. Volkmer, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto, CA, on the brief), for Defendants–Appellees.Clifford M. Sloan (Christopher G. Clark and Mary E. Rasenberger, on the brief), Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, New York, NY, and Washington, DC, for amici curiae Advance Publications, Inc., Association of American Publishers, Association of American University Presses, The Associated Press, The Center for the Rule of Law, Gannett Co., Inc., ICBC Broadcast Holdings, Inc., Institute for Policy Innovation, The Ladies Professional Golf Association, The McClatchy Co., The Media Institute, Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, Inc., National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, The National Football League, Newspaper Association of America, Picture Archive Council of America, Professional Photographers of America, Radio Television Digital News Association, Rosetta Stone Ltd., The E.W. Scripps Co., Sports Rights Owners Coalition, The Washington Post, and Zuffa LLC, in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Peter D. DeChiara, Cohen, Weiss & Simon LLP, New York, NY, for amici curiae American Federation of Musicians, American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, Inc., International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Screen Actors Guild, Inc., and Studio Transportation Drivers, Local 399, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Russell J. Frackman, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for amici curiae Broadcast Music, Inc., American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, SESAC, Inc., The Society of Composers and Lyricists, The Association of Independent Music Publishers, Songwriters Guild of America, The Recording Academy, The Nashville Songwriters Association International, American Association of Independent Music, Music Publishers' Association of the United States, Lisa Thomas Music Services, LLC, Garth Brooks, Bruce Hornsby, Boz Scaggs, Sting, Roger Waters, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, and Joe Walsh (The Eagles), in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Carey R. Ramos (Lynn B. Bayard and Darren W. Johnson, on the brief), Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York, NY, for amici curiae Stuart N. Brotman, Ronald A. Cass, and Raymond T. Nimmer, in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Jonathan L. Marcus (Martin F. Hansen, Matthew Berns, Brian D. Ginsberg & Evan R. Cox, on the brief), Covington & Burling LLP, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, DC, for amicus curiae Business Software Alliance, in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Robert Penchina, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, L.L.P., New York, NY, for amicus [676 F.3d 24] curiae CBS Corp., in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Bruce A. Lehman (Jason D. Koch and Cameron Coffey, on the brief), Washington, DC, for amicus curiae International Intellectual Property Institute, in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Bruce E. Boyden, Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, WI, for amici curiae Intellectual Property Law Professors, in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Gregory G. Garre, Latham & Watkins LLP, Washington, DC (Lori Alvino McGill, Latham & Watkins LLP, Washington, DC, Thomas W. Burt, Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, and Jacob Schatz, Electronic Arts Inc., Redwood City, CA, on the brief), for amicus curiae Microsoft Corp. & Electronic Arts Inc., in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Kelly M. Klaus, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Los Angeles, CA (Susan Cleary, Independent Film & Television Alliance, on the brief) for amicus curiae Motion Picture Association of America, Independent Film & Television Alliance, in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Richard B. Kendall (Laura W. Brill and Joshua Y. Karp, on the brief), Kendall Brill & Klieger LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for amici curiae Matthew L. Spitzer, John R. Allison, Robert G. Bone, Hugh C. Hansen, Michael S. Knoll, Reinier H. Kraakman, Alan Schwartz, and Robert E. Scott, in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Andrew M. Riddles, Crowell & Moring LLP, New York, N.Y. (Michael J. Songer, Crowell & Moring LLP, Washington, DC, and Daniel J. Popeo and Cory L. Andrews, Washington Legal Foundation, Washington, DC, on the brief), for amicus curiae Washington Legal Foundation, in support of Plaintiffs–Appellants.Ron Lazebnik, Lincoln Square Legal Services, Inc., New York, NY, for amici curiae Anaheim Ballet, Michael Moore, Khan Academy Inc., Adam Bahner, Michael Bassik, Dane Boedigheimer, Matthew Brown, Michael Buckley, Shay Butler, Charles Como, Iman Crosson, Philip De Vellis, Rawn Erickson, Hank Green, John Green, Kassem Gharaibeh, William Louis Hyde, Kevin Nalty, Allison Speed, Charles Todd, Charles Trippy, and Barnett Zitron, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Seth D. Greenstein, Constantine Cannon LLP, Washington, DC, for amicus curiae Professor Michael Carrier, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Jonathan Band, Washington, DC (Markham C. Erickson, Holch & Erickson LLP, Washington, DC, and Matthew Schruers, Computer & Communications Industry Association, Washington, DC, on the brief), for amici curiae Computer & Communications Industry Association, and Netcoalition, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Michael Barclay, Menlo Park, CA; Deborah R. Gerhardt, UNC School of Law, Chapel Hill, NC, for amicus curiae Consumer Electronics Association, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Andrew P. Bridges, Winston & Strawn LLP, San Francisco, CA, for amici curiae eBay Inc., Facebook, Inc., IAC/Interactivecorp., and Yahoo! Inc., in support of Defendants–Appellees.Corynne M. McSherry (Abigail Phillips, on the brief), Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, CA, for amici curiae Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy & Technology, International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions, American Library Association, Association of College & Research Libraries, and Association of Research Libraries, in support of Defendants–Appellees.

      5

      [676 F.3d 25] David T. Goldberg (Sean H. Donahue, on the brief), Donahue & Goldberg, LLP, New York, NY, and Washington, DC, for amici curiae Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders, and Access, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Rebecca S. Engrav, Perkins Coie LLP, Seattle, WA, for amici curiae Intellectual Property and Internet Law Professors, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Gregory P. Gulia (Vanessa C. Hew and R. Terry Parker, on the brief), Duane Morris LLP, New York, NY, for amicus curiae MP3Tunes, Inc., in support of Defendants–Appellees.Jennifer M. Urban, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, CA, for amici curiae National Alliance for Media Art and Culture and The Alliance for Community Media, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Anthony P. Schoenberg (Stephanie P. Skaff, Deepak Gupta, and David K. Ismay, on the brief), Farella Braun & Martel LLP, San Francisco, CA, for amici curiae National Consumers League, Consumers Union of United States, Inc., Consumer Action, and United States Student Association, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Joseph C. Gratz (Michael H. Page and Ragesh K. Tangri, on the brief), Durie Tangri LLP, San Francisco, CA, for amici curiae National Venture Capital Association, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Benjamin J. Kallos, New York, N.Y. (Sherwin Siy and Michael Weinberg, Public Knowledge, Washington, DC, on the brief), for amicus curiae Public Knowledge, in support of Defendants–Appellees.Patrick J. Coyne, Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner, LLP, Washington, DC (David W. Hill, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Arlington, VA, on the brief), for amicus curiae American Intellectual Property Law Association, in support of neither party.Jeremy H. Stern, Stern Digital Strategies, Manhattan Beach, CA (Partha P. Chattoraj, Markowitz & Chattoraj LLP, New York, NY, on the brief), for amicus curiae Audible Magic Corp., in support of neither party.Stephen M. Wurzburg, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Palo Alto, CA, for amicus curiae Vobile, Inc., in support of neither party.

      6

      Before: CABRANES and LIVINGSTON, Circuit Judges.[*]

      7

      JOSÉ A. CABRANES, Circuit Judge:

      8

      This appeal requires us to clarify the contours of the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that limits the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement that occurs “by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(c).[1]

      9

      The plaintiffs-appellants in these related actions—Viacom International, Inc. (“Viacom”), The Football Association Premier League Ltd. (“Premier League”), and various film studios, television networks, music publishers, and sports leagues (jointly, [676 F.3d 26] the “plaintiffs”)[2] —appeal from an August 10, 2010 judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Louis L. Stanton, Judge), which granted summary judgment to defendants-appellees YouTube, Inc., YouTube, LLC, and Google Inc. (jointly, “YouTube” or the “defendants”). The plaintiffs alleged direct and secondary copyright infringement based on the public performance, display, and reproduction of approximately 79,000 audiovisual “clips” that appeared on the YouTube website between 2005 and 2008. They demanded, inter alia, statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(c) or, in the alternative, actual damages from the alleged infringement, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.[3]

      10

      In a June 23, 2010 Opinion and Order (the “June 23 Opinion”), the District Court held that the defendants were entitled to DMCA safe harbor protection primarily because they had insufficient notice of the particular infringements in suit. Viacom Int'l, Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., 718 F.Supp.2d 514, 529 (S.D.N.Y.2010). In construing the statutory safe harbor, the District Court concluded that the “actual knowledge” or “aware[ness] of facts or circumstances” that would disqualify an online service provider from safe harbor protection under § 512(c)(1)(A) refer to “knowledge of specific and identifiable infringements.” Id. at 523. The District Court further held that item-specific knowledge of infringing activity is required for a service provider to have the “right and ability to control” infringing activity under § 512(c)(1)(B). Id. at 527. Finally, the District Court held that the replication, transmittal, and display of videos on YouTube constituted activity “by reason of the storage at the direction of a user” within the meaning of § 512(c)(1). Id. at 526–27.

      11

      These related cases present a series of significant questions of statutory construction. We conclude that the District Court correctly held that the § 512(c) safe harbor requires knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity, but we vacate the order granting summary judgment because a reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity on its website. We further hold that the District Court erred by interpreting the “right and ability to control” provision to require “item-specific” knowledge. Finally, we affirm the District Court's holding that three of the challenged YouTube software functions fall within the safe harbor for infringement that occurs “by reason of” user storage; we remand for further fact-finding with respect to a fourth software function.

      12
      BACKGROUND
      13
      A. The DMCA Safe Harbors
      14

      “The DMCA was enacted in 1998 to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty,” Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Corley, 273 F.3d 429, 440 (2d Cir.2001), and to update domestic copyright law for the digital age, [676 F.3d 27] see Ellison v. Robertson, 357 F.3d 1072, 1076 (9th Cir.2004). Title II of the DMCA, separately titled the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act” (OCILLA), was designed to “clarif[y] the liability faced by service providers who transmit potentially infringing material over their networks.” S.Rep. No. 105–190 at 2 (1998). But “[r]ather than embarking upon a wholesale clarification” of various copyright doctrines, Congress elected “to leave current law in its evolving state and, instead, to create a series of ‘safe harbors[ ]’ for certain common activities of service providers.” Id. at 19. To that end, OCILLA established a series of four “safe harbors” that allow qualifying service providers to limit their liability for claims of copyright infringement based on (a) “transitory digital network communications,” (b) “system caching,” (c) “information residing on systems or networks at [the] direction of users,” and (d) “information location tools.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(a)-(d).

      15

      To qualify for protection under any of the safe harbors, a party must meet a set of threshold criteria. First, the party must in fact be a “service provider,” defined, in pertinent part, as “a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefor.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(k)(1)(B). A party that qualifies as a service provider must also satisfy certain “conditions of eligibility,” including the adoption and reasonable implementation of a “repeat infringer” policy that “provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network.” Id. § 512(i)(1)(A). In addition, a qualifying service provider must accommodate “standard technical measures” that are “used by copyright owners to identify or protect copyrighted works.” Id. § 512(i)(1)(B), (i)(2).

      16

      Beyond the threshold criteria, a service provider must satisfy the requirements of a particular safe harbor. In this case, the safe harbor at issue is § 512(c), which covers infringement claims that arise “by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider.” Id. § 512(c)(1). The § 512(c) safe harbor will apply only if the service provider:

      17

      (A) (i) does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing;

      (ii) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or

      (iii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material;

      (B) does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity; and

      (C) upon notification of claimed infringement as described in paragraph (3), responds expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity.

      18

      Id. § 512(c)(1)(A)-(C). Section 512(c) also sets forth a detailed notification scheme that requires service providers to “designate[ ] an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement,” id. § 512(c)(2), and specifies the components of a proper notification, commonly known as a “takedown notice,” to that agent, see id. § 512(c)(3). Thus, actual knowledge of infringing material, awareness of facts or circumstances that make infringing activity apparent, or [676 F.3d 28] receipt of a takedown notice will each trigger an obligation to expeditiously remove the infringing material.

      19

      With the statutory context in mind, we now turn to the facts of this case.

      20
      B. Factual Background
      21

      YouTube was founded in February 2005 by Chad Hurley (“Hurley”), Steve Chen (“Chen”), and Jawed Karim (“Karim”), three former employees of the internet company Paypal. When YouTube announced the “official launch” of the website in December 2005, a press release described YouTube as a “consumer media company” that “allows people to watch, upload, and share personal video clips at www. You Tube. com.” Under the slogan “Broadcast yourself,” YouTube achieved rapid prominence and profitability, eclipsing competitors such as Google Video and Yahoo Video by wide margins. In November 2006, Google acquired YouTube in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at $1.65 billion. By March 2010, at the time of summary judgment briefing in this litigation, site traffic on YouTube had soared to more than 1 billion daily video views, with more than 24 hours of new video uploaded to the site every minute.

      22

      The basic function of the YouTube website permits users to “upload” and view video clips free of charge. Before uploading a video to YouTube, a user must register and create an account with the website. The registration process requires the user to accept YouTube's Terms of Use agreement, which provides, inter alia, that the user “will not submit material that is copyrighted ... unless [he is] the owner of such rights or ha[s] permission from their rightful owner to post the material and to grant YouTube all of the license rights granted herein.” When the registration process is complete, the user can sign in to his account, select a video to upload from the user's personal computer, mobile phone, or other device, and instruct the YouTube system to upload the video by clicking on a virtual upload “button.”

      23

      Uploading a video to the YouTube website triggers a series of automated software functions. During the upload process, YouTube makes one or more exact copies of the video in its original file format. YouTube also makes one or more additional copies of the video in “Flash” format,[4] a process known as “transcoding.” The transcoding process ensures that YouTube videos are available for viewing by most users at their request. The YouTube system allows users to gain access to video content by “streaming” the video to the user's computer in response to a playback request. YouTube uses a computer algorithm to identify clips that are “related” to a video the user watches and display links to the “related” clips.

      24
      C. Procedural History
      25

      Plaintiff Viacom, an American media conglomerate, and various Viacom affiliates filed suit against YouTube on March 13, 2007, alleging direct and secondary copyright infringement[5] based on the public performance, display, and reproduction of their audiovisual works on the YouTube website. Plaintiff Premier League, an English soccer league, and Plaintiff Bourne Co. filed a putative class action against [676 F.3d 29] YouTube on May 4, 2007, alleging direct and secondary copyright infringement on behalf of all copyright owners whose material was copied, stored, displayed, or performed on YouTube without authorization. Specifically at issue were some 63,497 video clips identified by Viacom, as well as 13,500 additional clips (jointly, the “clips-in-suit”) identified by the putative class plaintiffs.

      26

      The plaintiffs in both actions principally demanded statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(c) or, in the alternative, actual damages plus the defendants' profits from the alleged infringement, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.[6] Judge Stanton, to whom the Viacom action was assigned, accepted the Premier League class action as related. At the close of discovery, the parties in both actions cross-moved for partial summary judgment with respect to the applicability of the DMCA safe harbor defense.[7]

      27

      In the dual-captioned June 23 Opinion, the District Court denied the plaintiffs' motions and granted summary judgment to the defendants, finding that YouTube qualified for DMCA safe harbor protection with respect to all claims of direct and secondary copyright infringement. Viacom Int'l, 718 F.Supp.2d at 529. The District Court prefaced its analysis of the DMCA safe harbor by holding that, based on the plaintiffs' summary judgment submissions, “a jury could find that the defendants not only were generally aware of, but welcomed, copyright-infringing material being placed on their website.” Id. at 518. However, the District Court also noted that the defendants had properly designated an agent pursuant to § 512(c)(2), and “when they received specific notice that a particular item infringed a copyright, they swiftly removed it.” Id. at 519. Accordingly, the District Court identified the crux of the inquiry with respect to YouTube's copyright liability as follows:

      28

      [T]he critical question is whether the statutory phrases “actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing,” and “facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent” in § 512(c)(1)(A)(i) and (ii) mean a general awareness that there are infringements (here, claimed to be widespread and common), or rather mean actual or constructive knowledge of specific and identifiable infringements of individual items.

      29

      Id. After quoting at length from the legislative history of the DMCA, the District Court held that “the phrases ‘actual knowledge that the material or an activity’ is infringing, and ‘facts or circumstances' indicating infringing activity, describe knowledge of specific and identifiable infringements of particular individual items.” Id. at 523. “Mere knowledge of [the] prevalence of such activity in general,” the District Court concluded, “is not enough.” Id.

      30

      In a final section labeled “Other Points,” the District Court rejected two additional claims. First, it rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the replication, transmittal and display of YouTube videos are functions that fall outside the protection § 512(c)(1) affords for “infringement of copyright by reason of ... storage at the direction of the user.” Id. at 526–27. Second, it rejected the plaintiffs' argument [676 F.3d 30] that YouTube was ineligible for safe harbor protection under the control provision, holding that the “right and ability to control” infringing activity under § 512(c)(1)(B) requires “item-specific” knowledge thereof, because “the provider must know of the particular case before he can control it.” Id. at 527.

      31

      Following the June 23 Opinion, final judgment in favor of YouTube was entered on August 10, 2010. These appeals followed.

      32
      DISCUSSION
      33

      We review an order granting summary judgment de novo, drawing all factual inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See, e.g., Paneccasio v. Unisource Worldwide, Inc., 532 F.3d 101, 107 (2d Cir.2008). “Summary judgment is proper only when, construing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant, ‘there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.’ ” Doninger v. Niehoff, 642 F.3d 334, 344 (2d Cir.2011) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)).

      34
      A. Actual and “Red Flag” Knowledge: § 512(c)(1)(A)
      35

       The first and most important question on appeal is whether the DMCA safe harbor at issue requires “actual knowledge” or “aware[ness]” of facts or circumstances indicating “specific and identifiable infringements,” Viacom, 718 F.Supp.2d at 523. We consider first the scope of the statutory provision and then its application to the record in this case.

      36
      1. The Specificity Requirement
      37

      “As in all statutory construction cases, we begin with the language of the statute,” Barnhart v. Sigmon Coal Co., 534 U.S. 438, 450, 122 S.Ct. 941, 151 L.Ed.2d 908 (2002). Under § 512(c)(1)(A), safe harbor protection is available only if the service provider:

      38

      (i) does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing;

      (ii) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or

      (iii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material....

      39

      17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(A). As previously noted, the District Court held that the statutory phrases “actual knowledge that the material ... is infringing” and “facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent” refer to “knowledge of specific and identifiable infringements.” Viacom, 718 F.Supp.2d at 523. For the reasons that follow, we substantially affirm that holding.

      40

      Although the parties marshal a battery of other arguments on appeal, it is the text of the statute that compels our conclusion. In particular, we are persuaded that the basic operation of § 512(c) requires knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity. Under § 512(c)(1)(A), knowledge or awareness alone does not disqualify the service provider; rather, the provider that gains knowledge or awareness of infringing activity retains safe-harbor protection if it “acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(A)(iii). Thus, the nature of the removal obligation itself contemplates knowledge or awareness of specific infringing material, because expeditious removal is possible only if the service provider knows with particularity which items to remove. Indeed, to require expeditious removal in the absence of specific knowledge [676 F.3d 31] or awareness would be to mandate an amorphous obligation to “take commercially reasonable steps” in response to a generalized awareness of infringement. Viacom Br. 33. Such a view cannot be reconciled with the language of the statute, which requires “expeditious[ ]” action to remove or disable “ the material ” at issue. 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(A)(iii) (emphasis added).

      41

      On appeal, the plaintiffs dispute this conclusion by drawing our attention to § 512(c)(1)(A)(ii), the so-called “red flag” knowledge provision. See id. § 512(c)(1)(A)(ii) (limiting liability where, “in the absence of such actual knowledge, [the service provider] is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent”). In their view, the use of the phrase “facts or circumstances” demonstrates that Congress did not intend to limit the red flag provision to a particular type of knowledge. The plaintiffs contend that requiring awareness of specific infringements in order to establish “aware[ness] of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent,” 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(A)(ii), renders the red flag provision superfluous, because that provision would be satisfied only when the “actual knowledge” provision is also satisfied. For that reason, the plaintiffs urge the Court to hold that the red flag provision “requires less specificity” than the actual knowledge provision. Pls.' Supp. Br. 1.

      42

      This argument misconstrues the relationship between “actual” knowledge and “red flag” knowledge. It is true that “we are required to ‘disfavor interpretations of statutes that render language superfluous.’ ” Conn. ex rel. Blumenthal v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, 228 F.3d 82, 88 (2d Cir.2000) (quoting Conn. Nat'l Bank v. Germain, 503 U.S. 249, 253, 112 S.Ct. 1146, 117 L.Ed.2d 391 (1992)). But contrary to the plaintiffs' assertions, construing § 512(c)(1)(A) to require actual knowledge or awareness of specific instances of infringement does not render the red flag provision superfluous. The phrase “actual knowledge,” which appears in § 512(c)(1)(A)(i), is frequently used to denote subjective belief. See, e.g., United States v. Quinones, 635 F.3d 590, 602 (2d Cir.2011) (“[T]he belief held by the defendant need not be reasonable in order for it to defeat ... actual knowledge.”). By contrast, courts often invoke the language of “facts or circumstances,” which appears in § 512(c)(1)(A)(ii), in discussing an objective reasonableness standard. See, e.g., Maxwell v. City of New York, 380 F.3d 106, 108 (2d Cir.2004) (“Police officers' application of force is excessive ... if it is objectively unreasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

      43

      The difference between actual and red flag knowledge is thus not between specific and generalized knowledge, but instead between a subjective and an objective standard. In other words, the actual knowledge provision turns on whether the provider actually or “subjectively” knew of specific infringement, while the red flag provision turns on whether the provider was subjectively aware of facts that would have made the specific infringement “objectively” obvious to a reasonable person. The red flag provision, because it incorporates an objective standard, is not swallowed up by the actual knowledge provision under our construction of the § 512(c) safe harbor. Both provisions do independent work, and both apply only to specific instances of infringement.

      44

      The limited body of case law interpreting the knowledge provisions of the § 512(c) safe harbor comports with our view of the specificity requirement. Most [676 F.3d 32] recently, a panel of the Ninth Circuit addressed the scope of § 512(c) in UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital Partners LLC, 667 F.3d 1022 (9th Cir.2011), a copyright infringement case against Veoh Networks, a video-hosting service similar to YouTube.[8] As in this case, various music publishers brought suit against the service provider, claiming direct and secondary copyright infringement based on the presence of unauthorized content on the website, and the website operator sought refuge in the § 512(c) safe harbor. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's determination on summary judgment that the website operator was entitled to safe harbor protection. With respect to the actual knowledge provision, the panel declined to “adopt[ ] a broad conception of the knowledge requirement,” id. at 1038, holding instead that the safe harbor “[r]equir [es] specific knowledge of particular infringing activity,” id. at 1037. The Court of Appeals “reach[ed] the same conclusion” with respect to the red flag provision, noting that “[w]e do not place the burden of determining whether [materials] are actually illegal on a service provider.” Id. at 1038 (alterations in original) (quoting Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill LLC, 488 F.3d 1102, 1114 (9th Cir.2007)).

      45

      Although Shelter Capital contains the most explicit discussion of the § 512(c) knowledge provisions, other cases are generally in accord. See, e.g., Capitol Records, Inc. v. MP3tunes, LLC, 821 F.Supp.2d 627, 635, 2011 WL 5104616, at *14 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 25, 2011) (“Undoubtedly, MP3tunes is aware that some level of infringement occurs. But, there is no genuine dispute that MP3tunes did not have specific ‘red flag’ knowledge with respect to any particular link....”); UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc., 665 F.Supp.2d 1099, 1108 (C.D.Cal.2009) (“ UMG II ”) (“[I]f investigation of ‘facts and circumstances' is required to identify material as infringing, then those facts and circumstances are not ‘red flags.’ ”). While we decline to adopt the reasoning of those decisions in toto, we note that no court has embraced the contrary proposition—urged by the plaintiffs—that the red flag provision “requires less specificity” than the actual knowledge provision.

      46

      Based on the text of § 512(c)(1)(A), as well as the limited case law on point, we affirm the District Court's holding that actual knowledge or awareness of facts or circumstances that indicate specific and identifiable instances of infringement will disqualify a service provider from the safe harbor.

      47
      2. The Grant of Summary Judgment
      48

      The corollary question on appeal is whether, under the foregoing construction of § 512(c)(1)(A), the District Court erred in granting summary judgment to YouTube on the record presented. For the reasons that follow, we hold that although the District Court correctly interpreted § 512(c)(1)(A), summary judgment for the defendants was premature.

      49
      i. Specific Knowledge or Awareness
      50

      The plaintiffs argue that, even under the District Court's construction of the safe harbor, the record raises material issues of fact regarding YouTube's actual knowledge or “red flag” awareness of specific instances of infringement. To that end, the plaintiffs draw our attention to various estimates regarding the percentage of infringing content on the YouTube website. For example, Viacom cites evidence [676 F.3d 33] that YouTube employees conducted website surveys and estimated that 75–80% of all YouTube streams contained copyrighted material. The class plaintiffs similarly claim that Credit Suisse, acting as financial advisor to Google, estimated that more than 60% of YouTube's content was “premium” copyrighted content—and that only 10% of the premium content was authorized. These approximations suggest that the defendants were conscious that significant quantities of material on the YouTube website were infringing. See Viacom Int'l, 718 F.Supp.2d at 518 (“[A] jury could find that the defendants not only were generally aware of, but welcomed, copyright-infringing material being placed on their website.”). But such estimates are insufficient, standing alone, to create a triable issue of fact as to whether YouTube actually knew, or was aware of facts or circumstances that would indicate, the existence of particular instances of infringement.

      51

      Beyond the survey results, the plaintiffs rely upon internal YouTube communications that do refer to particular clips or groups of clips. The class plaintiffs argue that YouTube was aware of specific infringing material because, inter alia, YouTube attempted to search for specific Premier League videos on the site in order to gauge their “value based on video usage.” In particular, the class plaintiffs cite a February 7, 2007 e-mail from Patrick Walker, director of video partnerships for Google and YouTube, requesting that his colleagues calculate the number of daily searches for the terms “soccer,” “football,” and “Premier League” in preparation for a bid on the global rights to Premier League content. On another occasion, Walker requested that any “clearly infringing, official broadcast footage” from a list of top Premier League clubs—including Liverpool Football Club, Chelsea Football Club, Manchester United Football Club, and Arsenal Football Club—be taken down in advance of a meeting with the heads of “several major sports teams and leagues.” YouTube ultimately decided not to make a bid for the Premier League rights—but the infringing content allegedly remained on the website.

      52

      The record in the Viacom action includes additional examples. For instance, YouTube founder Jawed Karim prepared a report in March 2006 which stated that, “[a]s of today[,] episodes and clips of the following well-known shows can still be found [on YouTube]: Family Guy, South Park, MTV Cribs, Daily Show, Reno 911, [and] Dave Chapelle [sic].” Karim further opined that, “although YouTube is not legally required to monitor content ... and complies with DMCA takedown requests, we would benefit from preemptively removing content that is blatantly illegal and likely to attract criticism.” He also noted that “a more thorough analysis” of the issue would be required. At least some of the TV shows to which Karim referred are owned by Viacom. A reasonable juror could conclude from the March 2006 report that Karim knew of the presence of Viacom-owned material on YouTube, since he presumably located specific clips of the shows in question before he could announce that YouTube hosted the content “[a]s of today.” A reasonable juror could also conclude that Karim believed the clips he located to be infringing (since he refers to them as “blatantly illegal”), and that YouTube did not remove the content from the website until conducting “a more thorough analysis,” thus exposing the company to liability in the interim.

      53

      Furthermore, in a July 4, 2005 e-mail exchange, YouTube founder Chad Hurley sent an e-mail to his co-founders with the subject line “budlight commercials,” and stated, “we need to reject these too.” Steve Chen responded, “can we please [676 F.3d 34] leave these in a bit longer? another week or two can't hurt.” Karim also replied, indicating that he “added back in all 28 bud videos.” Similarly, in an August 9, 2005 e-mail exchange, Hurley urged his colleagues “to start being diligent about rejecting copyrighted / inappropriate content,” noting that “there is a cnn clip of the shuttle clip on the site today, if the boys from Turner would come to the site, they might be pissed?” Again, Chen resisted:

      54

      but we should just keep that stuff on the site. i really don't see what will happen. what? someone from cnn sees it? he happens to be someone with power? he happens to want to take it down right away. he gets in touch with cnn legal. 2 weeks later, we get a cease & desist letter. we take the video down.

      And again, Karim agreed, indicating that “the CNN space shuttle clip, I like. we can remove it once we're bigger and better known, but for now that clip is fine.”

      55

      Upon a review of the record, we are persuaded that the plaintiffs may have raised a material issue of fact regarding YouTube's knowledge or awareness of specific instances of infringement. The foregoing Premier League e-mails request the identification and removal of “clearly infringing, official broadcast footage.” The March 2006 report indicates Karim's awareness of specific clips that he perceived to be “blatantly illegal.” Similarly, the Bud Light and space shuttle e-mails refer to particular clips in the context of correspondence about whether to remove infringing material from the website. On these facts, a reasonable juror could conclude that YouTube had actual knowledge of specific infringing activity, or was at least aware of facts or circumstances from which specific infringing activity was apparent. See § 512(c)(1)(A)(i)-(ii). Accordingly, we hold that summary judgment to YouTube on all clips-in-suit, especially in the absence of any detailed examination of the extensive record on summary judgment, was premature.[9]

      56

      We hasten to note, however, that although the foregoing e-mails were annexed as exhibits to the summary judgment papers, it is unclear whether the clips referenced therein are among the current clips-in-suit. By definition, only the current clips-in-suit are at issue in this litigation. Accordingly, we vacate the order granting summary judgment and instruct the District Court to determine on remand whether any specific infringements of which YouTube had knowledge or awareness correspond to the clips-in-suit in these actions.

      57
      ii. “Willful Blindness”
      58

      The plaintiffs further argue that the District Court erred in granting summary judgment to the defendants despite evidence that YouTube was “willfully blind” to specific infringing activity. On this issue of first impression, we consider the application of the common law willful blindness doctrine in the DMCA context.

      59

       “The principle that willful blindness is tantamount to knowledge is hardly novel.” Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. eBay, Inc., 600 F.3d 93, 110 n. 16 (2d Cir.2010) (collecting [676 F.3d 35] cases); see In re Aimster Copyright Litig., 33,4 F.3d 643 (7th Cir.2003) (“Willful blindness is knowledge, in copyright law ... as it is in the law generally.”). A person is “willfully blind” or engages in “conscious avoidance” amounting to knowledge where the person “ ‘was aware of a high probability of the fact in dispute and consciously avoided confirming that fact.’ ” United States v. Aina-Marshall, 336 F.3d 167, 170 (2d Cir.2003) (quoting United States v. Rodriguez, 983 F.2d 455, 458 (2d Cir.1993)); cf. Global–Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., ––– U.S. ––––, 131 S.Ct. 2060, 2070–71, 179 L.Ed.2d 1167 (2011) (applying the willful blindness doctrine in a patent infringement case). Writing in the trademark infringement context, we have held that “[a] service provider is not ... permitted willful blindness. When it has reason to suspect that users of its service are infringing a protected mark, it may not shield itself from learning of the particular infringing transactions by looking the other way.” Tiffany, 600 F.3d at 109.

      60

      The DMCA does not mention willful blindness. As a general matter, we interpret a statute to abrogate a common law principle only if the statute “speak[s] directly to the question addressed by the common law.” Matar v. Dichter, 563 F.3d 9, 14 (2d Cir.2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). The relevant question, therefore, is whether the DMCA “speak[s] directly” to the principle of willful blindness. Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). The DMCA provision most relevant to the abrogation inquiry is § 512(m), which provides that safe harbor protection shall not be conditioned on “a service provider monitoring its service or affirmatively seeking facts indicating infringing activity, except to the extent consistent with a standard technical measure complying with the provisions of subsection (i).” 17 U.S.C. § 512(m)(1). Section 512(m) is explicit: DMCA safe harbor protection cannot be conditioned on affirmative monitoring by a service provider. For that reason, § 512(m) is incompatible with a broad common law duty to monitor or otherwise seek out infringing activity based on general awareness that infringement may be occurring. That fact does not, however, dispose of the abrogation inquiry; as previously noted, willful blindness cannot be defined as an affirmative duty to monitor. See Aina–Marshall, 336 F.3d at 170 (holding that a person is “willfully blind” where he “was aware of a high probability of the fact in dispute and consciously avoided confirming that fact”). Because the statute does not “speak[ ] directly” to the willful blindness doctrine, § 512(m) limits—but does not abrogate—the doctrine. Accordingly, we hold that the willful blindness doctrine may be applied, in appropriate circumstances, to demonstrate knowledge or awareness of specific instances of infringement under the DMCA.

      61

      The District Court cited § 512(m) for the proposition that safe harbor protection does not require affirmative monitoring, Viacom, 718 F.Supp.2d at 524, but did not expressly address the principle of willful blindness or its relationship to the DMCA safe harbors. As a result, whether the defendants made a “deliberate effort to avoid guilty knowledge,” In re Aimster, 33,4 F.3d at 650, remains a fact question for the District Court to consider in the first instance on remand.[10]

      62
      [676 F.3d 36] B. Control and Benefit: § 512(c)(1)(B)
      63

       Apart from the foregoing knowledge provisions, the § 512(c) safe harbor provides that an eligible service provider must “not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(B). The District Court addressed this issue in a single paragraph, quoting from § 512(c)(1)(B), the so-called “control and benefit” provision, and concluding that “[t]he ‘right and ability to control’ the activity requires knowledge of it, which must be item-specific.” Viacom, 718 F.Supp.2d at 527. For the reasons that follow, we hold that the District Court erred by importing a specific knowledge requirement into the control and benefit provision, and we therefore remand for further fact-finding on the issue of control.

      64
      1. “Right and Ability to Control” Infringing Activity
      65

      On appeal, the parties advocate two competing constructions of the “right and ability to control” infringing activity. 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(B). Because each is fatally flawed, we reject both proposed constructions in favor of a fact-based inquiry to be conducted in the first instance by the District Court.

      66

      The first construction, pressed by the defendants, is the one adopted by the District Court, which held that “the provider must know of the particular case before he can control it.” Viacom, 718 F.Supp.2d at 527. The Ninth Circuit recently agreed, holding that “until [the service provider] becomes aware of specific unauthorized material, it cannot exercise its ‘power or authority’ over the specific infringing item. In practical terms, it does not have the kind of ability to control infringing activity the statute contemplates.” UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital Partners LLC, 667 F.3d 1022, 1041 (9th Cir.2011). The trouble with this construction is that importing a specific knowledge requirement into § 512(c)(1)(B) renders the control provision duplicative of § 512(c)(1)(A). Any service provider that has item-specific knowledge of infringing activity and thereby obtains financial benefit would already be excluded from the safe harbor under § 512(c)(1)(A) for having specific knowledge of infringing material and failing to effect expeditious removal. No additional service provider would be excluded by § 512(c)(1)(B) that was not already excluded by § 512(c)(1)(A). Because statutory interpretations that render language superfluous are disfavored, Conn. ex rel. Blumenthal, 228 F.3d at 88, we reject the District Court's interpretation of the control provision.

      67

      The second construction, urged by the plaintiffs, is that the control provision codifies the common law doctrine of vicarious copyright liability. The common law imposes liability for vicarious copyright infringement “[w]hen the right and ability to supervise coalesce with an obvious and direct financial interest in the exploitation of copyrighted materials—even in the absence of actual knowledge that the copyright mono [poly] is being impaired.” Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. v. H.L. Green Co., 316 F.2d 304, 307 (2d Cir.1963); cf. Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913, 930 n. 9, 125 S.Ct. 2764, 162 L.Ed.2d 781 (2005). To support their codification argument, the plaintiffs rely [676 F.3d 37] on a House Report relating to a preliminary version of the DMCA: “The ‘right and ability to control’ language ... codifies the second element of vicarious liability.... Subparagraph (B) is intended to preserve existing case law that examines all relevant aspects of the relationship between the primary and secondary infringer.” H.R.Rep. No. 105–551(I), at 26 (1998). In response, YouTube notes that the codification reference was omitted from the committee reports describing the final legislation, and that Congress ultimately abandoned any attempt to “embark[ ] upon a wholesale clarification” of vicarious liability, electing instead “to create a series of ‘safe harbors' for certain common activities of service providers.” S.Rep. No. 105–190, at 19.

      68

      Happily, the future of digital copyright law does not turn on the confused legislative history of the control provision. The general rule with respect to common law codification is that when “Congress uses terms that have accumulated settled meaning under the common law, a court must infer, unless the statute otherwise dictates, that Congress means to incorporate the established meaning of those terms.” Neder v. United States, 527 U.S. 1, 21, 119 S.Ct. 1827, 144 L.Ed.2d 35 (1999) (ellipsis and internal quotation marks omitted). Under the common law vicarious liability standard, “ ‘[t]he ability to block infringers' access to a particular environment for any reason whatsoever is evidence of the right and ability to supervise.’ ” Arista Records LLC v. Usenet.com, Inc., 633 F.Supp.2d 124, 157 (S.D.N.Y.2009) (alteration in original) (quoting A & M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004, 1023 (9th Cir.2001)). To adopt that principle in the DMCA context, however, would render the statute internally inconsistent. Section 512(c) actually presumes that service providers have the ability to “block ... access” to infringing material. Id. at 157; see Shelter Capital, 667 F.3d at 1042–43. Indeed, a service provider who has knowledge or awareness of infringing material or who receives a takedown notice from a copyright holder is required to “remove, or disable access to, the material” in order to claim the benefit of the safe harbor. 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(A)(iii) & (C). But in taking such action, the service provider would—in the plaintiffs' analysis—be admitting the “right and ability to control” the infringing material. Thus, the prerequisite to safe harbor protection under § 512(c)(1)(A)(iii) & (C) would at the same time be a disqualifier under § 512(c)(1)(B).

      69

      Moreover, if Congress had intended § 512(c)(1)(B) to be coextensive with vicarious liability, “the statute could have accomplished that result in a more direct manner.” Shelter Capital, 667 F.3d at 1045.

      70

      It is conceivable that Congress ... intended that [service providers] which receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity would not, under any circumstances, be able to qualify for the subsection (c) safe harbor. But if that was indeed their intention, it would have been far simpler and much more straightforward to simply say as much. Id. (alteration in original) (quoting Ellison v. Robertson, 189 F.Supp.2d 1051, 1061 (C.D.Cal.2002), aff'd in part and rev'd in part on different grounds, 357 F.3d 1072 (9th Cir.2004)).

      71

      In any event, the foregoing tension—elsewhere described as a “predicament”[11] and a “catch22”[12]—is sufficient to establish that the control provision “dictates” [676 F.3d 38] a departure from the common law vicarious liability standard, Neder, 527 U.S. at 21, 119 S.Ct. 1827. Accordingly, we conclude that the “right and ability to control” infringing activity under § 512(c)(1)(B) “requires something more than the ability to remove or block access to materials posted on a service provider's website.” MP3tunes, LLC, 821 F.Supp.2d at 645, 2011 WL 5104616, at *14; accord Wolk v. Kodak Imaging Network, Inc., ––– F.Supp.2d ––––, ––––, 2012 WL 11270, at *21 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 3, 2012); UMG II, 665 F.Supp.2d at 1114–15; Io Grp., Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc., 586 F.Supp.2d 1132, 1151 (N.D.Cal.2008); Corbis Corp. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 351 F.Supp.2d 1090, 1110 (W.D.Wash.2004), overruled on other grounds by Cosmetic Ideas, Inc. v. IAC/Interactivecorp., 606 F.3d 612 (9th Cir.2010). The remaining—and more difficult—question is how to define the “something more” that is required.

      72

      To date, only one court has found that a service provider had the right and ability to control infringing activity under § 512(c)(1)(B).[13] In Perfect 10, Inc. v. Cybernet Ventures, Inc., 213 F.Supp.2d 1146 (C.D.Cal.2002), the court found control where the service provider instituted a monitoring program by which user websites received “detailed instructions regard[ing] issues of layout, appearance, and content.” Id. at 1173. The service provider also forbade certain types of content and refused access to users who failed to comply with its instructions. Id. Similarly, inducement of copyright infringement under Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913, 125 S.Ct. 2764, 162 L.Ed.2d 781 (2005), which “premises liability on purposeful, culpable expression and conduct,” id. at 937, 125 S.Ct. 2764, might also rise to the level of control under § 512(c)(1)(B). Both of these examples involve a service provider exerting substantial influence on the activities of users, without necessarily—or even frequently—acquiring knowledge of specific infringing activity.

      73

      In light of our holding that § 512(c)(1)(B) does not include a specific knowledge requirement, we think it prudent to remand to the District Court to consider in the first instance whether the plaintiffs have adduced sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable jury to conclude that YouTube had the right and ability to control the infringing activity and received a financial benefit directly attributable to that activity.

      74
      C. “By Reason of” Storage: § 512(c)(1)
      75

       The § 512(c) safe harbor is only available when the infringement occurs “by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1). In this case, the District Court held that YouTube's software functions fell within the safe harbor for infringements that occur “by reason of” user storage. Viacom, 718 F.Supp.2d at 526 (noting that a contrary holding would “confine[ ] the word ‘storage’ too narrowly to meet the statute's purpose”). For the reasons that follow, we affirm that holding [676 F.3d 39] with respect to three of the challenged software functions—the conversion (or “transcoding”) of videos into a standard display format, the playback of videos on “watch” pages, and the “related videos” function. We remand for further fact-finding with respect to a fourth software function, involving the third-party syndication of videos uploaded to YouTube.

      76

      As a preliminary matter, we note that “the structure and language of OCILLA indicate that service providers seeking safe harbor under [§ ] 512(c) are not limited to merely storing material.” Io Grp., 586 F.Supp.2d at 1147. The structure of the statute distinguishes between so-called “conduit only” functions under § 512(a) and the functions addressed by § 512(c) and the other subsections. See 17 U.S.C. § 512(n) (“Subsections (a), (b), (c), and (d) describe separate and distinct functions for purposes of applying this section.”). Most notably, OCILLA contains two definitions of “service provider.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(k)(1)(A)-(B). The narrower definition, which applies only to service providers falling under § 512(a), is limited to entities that “offer[ ] the transmission, routing or providing of connections for digital online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user's choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or received.” Id. § 512(k)(1)(A) (emphasis added). No such limitation appears in the broader definition, which applies to service providers—including YouTube—falling under § 512(c). Under the broader definition, “the term ‘service provider’ means a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefor, and includes an entity described in subparagraph (A).” Id. § 512(k)(1)(B). In the absence of a parallel limitation on the ability of a service provider to modify user-submitted material, we conclude that § 512(c) “is clearly meant to cover more than mere electronic storage lockers.” UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc., 620 F.Supp.2d 1081, 1088 (C.D.Cal.2008) (“UMG I”).

      77

      The relevant case law makes clear that the § 512(c) safe harbor extends to software functions performed “for the purpose of facilitating access to user-stored material.” Id.; see Shelter Capital, 667 F.3d at 1031–35. Two of the software functions challenged here—transcoding and playback—were expressly considered by our sister Circuit in Shelter Capital, which held that liability arising from these functions occurred “by reason of the storage at the direction of a user.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(c); see Shelter Capital, 667 F.3d at 1027–28, 1031; see also UMG I, 620 F.Supp.2d at 1089–91; Io Group, 586 F.Supp.2d at 1146–48. Transcoding involves “[m]aking copies of a video in a different encoding scheme” in order to render the video “viewable over the Internet to most users.” Supp. Joint App'x I:236. The playback process involves “deliver[ing] copies of YouTube videos to a user's browser cache” in response to a user request. Id. at 239. The District Court correctly found that to exclude these automated functions from the safe harbor would eviscerate the protection afforded to service providers by § 512(c). Viacom, 718 F.Supp.2d at 526–27.

      78

      A similar analysis applies to the “related videos” function, by which a YouTube computer algorithm identifies and displays “thumbnails” of clips that are “related” to the video selected by the user. The plaintiffs claim that this practice constitutes content promotion, not “access” to stored content, and therefore falls beyond the scope of the safe harbor. Citing similar language in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961–68, and the Clayton [676 F.3d 40] Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 12 et seq., the plaintiffs argue that the statutory phrase “by reason of” requires a finding of proximate causation between the act of storage and the infringing activity. See, e.g., Holmes v. Sec. Investor Prot. Corp., 503 U.S. 258, 267–68, 112 S.Ct. 1311, 117 L.Ed.2d 532 (1992) (holding that the “by reason of” language in the RICO statute requires proximate causation). But even if the plaintiffs are correct that § 512(c) incorporates a principle of proximate causation—a question we need not resolve here—the indexing and display of related videos retain a sufficient causal link to the prior storage of those videos. The record makes clear that the related videos algorithm “is fully automated and operates solely in response to user input without the active involvement of YouTube employees.” Supp. Joint App'x I:237. Furthermore, the related videos function serves to help YouTube users locate and gain access to material stored at the direction of other users. Because the algorithm “is closely related to, and follows from, the storage itself,” and is “narrowly directed toward providing access to material stored at the direction of users,” UMG I, 620 F.Supp.2d at 1092, we conclude that the related videos function is also protected by the § 512(c) safe harbor.

      79

      The final software function at issue here—third-party syndication—is the closest case. In or around March 2007, YouTube transcoded a select number of videos into a format compatible with mobile devices and “syndicated” or licensed the videos to Verizon Wireless and other companies. The plaintiffs argue—with some force—that business transactions do not occur at the “direction of a user” within the meaning of § 512(c)(1) when they involve the manual selection of copyrighted material for licensing to a third party. The parties do not dispute, however, that none of the clips-in-suit were among the approximately 2,000 videos provided to Verizon Wireless. In order to avoid rendering an advisory opinion on the outer boundaries of the storage provision, we remand for fact-finding on the question of whether any of the clips-in-suit were in fact syndicated to any other third party.

      80
      D. Other Arguments
      81
      1. Repeat Infringer Policy
      82

      The class plaintiffs briefly argue that YouTube failed to comply with the requirements of § 512(i), which conditions safe harbor eligibility on the service provider having “adopted and reasonably implemented ... a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network who are repeat infringers.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(i)(1)(A). Specifically, the class plaintiffs allege that YouTube “deliberately set up its identification tools to try to avoid identifying infringements of class plaintiffs' works.” This allegation rests primarily on the assertion that YouTube permitted only designated “partners” to gain access to content identification tools by which YouTube would conduct network searches and identify infringing material.[14]

      83

      Because the class plaintiffs challenge YouTube's deployment of search technology, [676 F.3d 41] we must consider their § 512(i) argument in conjunction with § 512(m). As previously noted, § 512(m) provides that safe harbor protection cannot be conditioned on “a service provider monitoring its service or affirmatively seeking facts indicating infringing activity, except to the extent consistent with a standard technical measure complying with the provisions of subsection (i).” 17 U.S.C. § 512(m)(1) (emphasis added). In other words, the safe harbor expressly disclaims any affirmative monitoring requirement—except to the extent that such monitoring comprises a “standard technical measure” within the meaning of § 512(i). Refusing to accommodate or implement a “standard technical measure” exposes a service provider to liability; refusing to provide access to mechanisms by which a service provider affirmatively monitors its own network has no such result. In this case, the class plaintiffs make no argument that the content identification tools implemented by YouTube constitute “standard technical measures,” such that YouTube would be exposed to liability under § 512(i). For that reason, YouTube cannot be excluded from the safe harbor by dint of a decision to restrict access to its proprietary search mechanisms.

      84
      2. Affirmative Claims
      85

      Finally, the plaintiffs argue that the District Court erred in denying summary judgment to the plaintiffs on their claims of direct infringement, vicarious liability, and contributory liability under Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913, 125 S.Ct. 2764, 162 L.Ed.2d 781 (2005). In granting summary judgment to the defendants, the District Court held that YouTube “qualif[ied] for the protection of ... § 512(c),” and therefore denied the plaintiffs' cross-motion for summary judgment without comment. Viacom, 718 F.Supp.2d at 529.

      86

      The District Court correctly determined that a finding of safe harbor application necessarily protects a defendant from all affirmative claims for monetary relief. 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1); see H.R.Rep. No. 105–551(II), at 50; S.Rep. No. 105–190, at 20; cf. 17 U.S.C. § 512(j) (setting forth the scope of injunctive relief available under § 512). For the reasons previously stated, further fact-finding is required to determine whether YouTube is ultimately entitled to safe harbor protection in this case. Accordingly, we vacate the order denying summary judgment to the plaintiffs and remand the cause without expressing a view on the merits of the plaintiffs' affirmative claims.

      87
      CONCLUSION
      88

      To summarize, we hold that:

      89

      (1) The District Court correctly held that 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(A) requires knowledge or awareness of facts or circumstances that indicate specific and identifiable instances of infringement;

      (2) However, the June 23, 2010 order granting summary judgment to YouTube is VACATED because a reasonable jury could conclude that YouTube had knowledge or awareness under § 512(c)(1)(A) at least with respect to a handful of specific clips; the cause is REMANDED for the District Court to determine whether YouTube had knowledge or awareness of any specific instances of infringement corresponding to the clips-in-suit;

      (3) The willful blindness doctrine may be applied, in appropriate circumstances, to demonstrate knowledge or awareness of specific instances of infringement under § 512(c)(1)(A); the cause is REMANDED for the [676 F.3d 42] District Court to consider the application of the willful blindness doctrine in the first instance;

      (4) The District Court erred by requiring “item-specific” knowledge of infringement in its interpretation of the “right and ability to control” infringing activity under 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(B), and the judgment is REVERSED insofar as it rests on that erroneous construction of the statute; the cause is REMANDED for further fact-finding by the District Court on the issues of control and financial benefit;

      (5) The District Court correctly held that three of the challenged YouTube software functions—replication, playback, and the related videos feature—occur “by reason of the storage at the direction of a user” within the meaning of 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1), and the judgment is AFFIRMED insofar as it so held; the cause is REMANDED for further fact-finding regarding a fourth software function, involving the syndication of YouTube videos to third parties.

      On remand, the District Court shall allow the parties to brief the following issues, with a view to permitting renewed motions for summary judgment as soon as practicable:

      (A) Whether, on the current record, YouTube had knowledge or awareness of any specific infringements (including any clips-in-suit not expressly noted in this opinion);

      (B) Whether, on the current record, YouTube willfully blinded itself to specific infringements;

      (C) Whether YouTube had the “right and ability to control” infringing activity within the meaning of § 512(c)(1)(B); and

      (D) Whether any clips-in-suit were syndicated to a third party and, if so, whether such syndication occurred “by reason of the storage at the direction of the user” within the meaning of § 512(c)(1), so that YouTube may claim the protection of the § 512(c) safe harbor.

      We leave to the sound discretion of the District Court the question of whether some additional, guided discovery is appropriate in order to resolve “(C)” (“[w]hether YouTube had ‘the right and ability to control’ infringing activity”), and “(D)” (“[w]hether any clips-in-suit were syndicated to a third party”). As noted above, for purposes of this case, the record with respect to “(A)” (“[w]hether ... YouTube had knowledge or awareness of any specific infringements”) and “(B)” (“[w]hether. YouTube willfully blinded itself to specific infringements”) is now complete.

      90

      Each party shall bear its own costs.

      91
      APPENDIX ARELEVANT PROVISIONS OF THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT 17 U.S.C. § 512
      92

      (c) Information residing on systems or networks at direction of users.

      (1) In general.—A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in subsection (j), for injunctive or other equitable relief, for infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider, if the service provider—

      (A) (i) does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing;

      [676 F.3d 43] (ii) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or

      (iii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material;

      (B) does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity; and

      (C) upon notification of claimed infringement as described in paragraph (3), responds expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity.

      (2) Designated agent.—The limitations on liability established in this subsection apply to a service provider only if the service provider has designated an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement described in paragraph (3), by making available through its service, including on its website in a location accessible to the public, and by providing to the Copyright Office, substantially the following information:

      (A) the name, address, phone number, and electronic mail address of the agent.

      (B) other contact information which the Register of Copyrights may deem appropriate.

      The Register of Copyrights shall maintain a current directory of agents available to the public for inspection, including through the Internet, and may require payment of a fee by service providers to cover the costs of maintaining the directory.

      (3) Elements of notification.—

      (A) To be effective under this subsection, a notification of claimed infringement must be a written communication provided to the designated agent of a service provider that includes substantially the following:

      (i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

      (ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.

      (iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.

      (vi) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.

      (iv) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

      (v) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

      (B)(i) Subject to clause (ii), a notification from a copyright owner or from a person authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner that fails to comply substantially with the provisions of subparagraph

      [676 F.3d 44] (A) shall not be considered under paragraph (1)(A) in determining whether a service provider has actual knowledge or is aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent.

      (ii) In a case in which the notification that is provided to the service provider's designated agent fails to comply substantially with all the provisions of subparagraph (A) but substantially complies with clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv) of subparagraph (A), clause (i) of this subparagraph applies only if the service provider promptly attempts to contact the person making the notification or takes other reasonable steps to assist in the receipt of notification that substantially complies with all the provisions of subparagraph (A).

      (i) Conditions for Eligibility.

      (1) Accommodation of technology.—The limitations on liability established by this section shall apply to a service provider only if the service provider—

      (A) has adopted and reasonably implemented, and informs subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network of, a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network who are repeat infringers; and

      (B) accommodates and does not interfere with standard technical measures.

      (2) Definition.—As used in this subsection, the term “standard technical measures” means technical measures that are used by copyright owners to identify or protect copyrighted works and—

      (A) have been developed pursuant to a broad consensus of copyright owners and service providers in an open, fair, voluntary, multi-industry standards process;

      (B) are available to any person on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms; and

      (C) do not impose substantial costs on service providers or substantial burdens on their systems or networks.

      (k) Definitions.

      (1) Service provider.—

      (A) As used in subsection (a), the term “service provider” means an entity offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user's choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or received.

      (B) As used in this section, other than subsection (a), the term “service provider” means a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefor, and includes an entity described in subparagraph (A).

      (2) Monetary relief.—As used in this section, the term “monetary relief” means damages, costs, attorneys' fees, and any other form of monetary payment.

      (m) Protection of privacy.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to condition the applicability of subsections (a) through (d) on—

      (1) a service provider monitoring its service or affirmatively seeking facts indicating infringing activity, except to the extent consistent with a standard technical measure complying with the provisions of subsection (i); or

      (2) a service provider gaining access to, removing, or disabling access to material [676 F.3d 45] in cases in which such conduct is prohibited by law.

      (n) Construction.

      Subsections (a), (b), (c), and (d) describe separate and distinct functions for purposes of applying this section. Whether a service provider qualifies for the limitation on liability in any one of those subsections shall be based solely on the criteria in that subsection, and shall not affect a determination of whether that service provider qualifies for the limitations on liability under any other such subsection.

      93

      [*] The Honorable Roger J. Miner, who was originally assigned to the panel, died prior to the resolution of this case. The remaining two members of the panel, who are in agreement, have determined the matter. See 28 U.S.C. § 46(d); 2d Cir. IOP E(b); United States v. Desimone, 140 F.3d 457, 458–59 (2d Cir.1998).

      94

      [1] The relevant provisions of 17 U.S.C. § 512(c) appear in Appendix A.

      95

      [2] The plaintiffs-appellants in Viacom Int'l, Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., No. 10–3270–cv, are Viacom, Comedy Partners, Country Music Television, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, and Black Entertainment Television, LLC (jointly, the “Viacom plaintiffs”). The plaintiffs-appellants in Football Ass'n Premier League Ltd. v. YouTube, Inc., No. 10–3342–cv, are Premier League, Bourne Co., Cal IV Entertainment, LLC, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., X–Ray Dog Music, Inc., Fédération Française de Tennis, Murbo Music Publishing, Inc., and Stage Three Music (US), Inc. (jointly, the “class plaintiffs”).

      96

      [3] The class plaintiffs also sought class certification pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

      97

      [4] The “Flash” format “is a highly compressed streaming format that begins to play instantly. Unlike other delivery methods, it does not require the viewer to download the entire video file before viewing.” Joint App'x IV:73.

      98

      [5] Doctrines of secondary copyright infringement include contributory, vicarious, and inducement liability. See Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913, 930–31, 936–37, 125 S.Ct. 2764, 162 L.Ed.2d 781 (2005).

      99

      [6] National Music Publishers' Association, one of the named plaintiffs in the putative class action, seeks only equitable relief.

      100

      [7] It is undisputed that all clips-in-suit had been removed from the YouTube website by the time of summary judgment, mostly in response to DMCA takedown notices. Viacom Int'l, 718 F.Supp.2d at 519.

      101

      [8] Veoh Networks operates a website that “allows people to share video content over the Internet.” Shelter Capital, 667 F.3d at 1026.

      102

      [9] We express no opinion as to whether the evidence discussed above will prove sufficient to withstand a renewed motion for summary judgment by YouTube on remand. In particular, we note that there is at least some evidence that the search requested by Walker in his February 7, 2007 e-mail was never carried out. See Joint App'x III:256. We also note that the class plaintiffs have failed to identify evidence indicating that any infringing content discovered as a result of Walker's request in fact remained on the YouTube website. The class plaintiffs, drawing on the voluminous record in this case, may be able to remedy these deficiencies in their briefing to the District Court on remand.

      103

      [10] Our recent decision in Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. eBay Inc., 600 F.3d 93 (2d Cir.2010), lends support to this result. In Tiffany, we rejected a willful blindness challenge, holding that although eBay “knew as a general matter that counterfeit Tiffany products were listed and sold through its website,” such knowledge “is insufficient to trigger liability.” Id. at 110. In so holding, however, we rested on the extensive findings of the district court with respect to willful blindness. Id. (citing Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. eBay, Inc., 576 F.Supp.2d 463, 513 (S.D.N.Y.2008)). Thus, the Tiffany holding counsels in favor of explicit fact-finding on the issue of willful blindness.

      104

      [11] Ellison, 189 F.Supp.2d at 1061.

      105

      [12] UMG II, 665 F.Supp.2d at 1112.

      106

      [13] Other courts have suggested that control may exist where the service provider is “actively involved in the listing, bidding, sale and delivery” of items offered for sale, Hendrickson v. eBay, Inc., 165 F.Supp.2d 1082, 1094 (C.D.Cal.2001), or otherwise controls vendor sales by previewing products prior to their listing, editing product descriptions, or suggesting prices, Corbis Corp., 351 F.Supp.2d at 1110. Because these cases held that control did not exist, however, it is not clear that the practices cited therein are individually sufficient to support a finding of control.

      107

      [14] The class plaintiffs also assert, in a single sentence, that YouTube failed to implement any repeat infringer policy prior to March 2006, and that the defendants are therefore excluded from the safe harbor for any infringing activity before that date. This one-sentence argument is insufficient to raise the issue for review before this Court. Accordingly, we deem the issue waived on appeal. See, e.g., Norton v. Sam's Club, 145 F.3d 114, 117 (2d Cir.1998) (“Issues not sufficiently argued in the briefs are considered waived and normally will not be addressed on appeal.”).

  • 2 Technological Protection Measures

    • 2.1 Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Corley, 273 F.3d 429 (2d Cir. 2001)

      1

      273 F.3d 429 (2nd Cir. 2001)

      2
      UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC., PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORPORATION, METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER STUDIOS INC., TRISTAR PICTURES, INC., COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC., TIME WARNER ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY, L.P., DISNEY ENTERPRISES INC., TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
      v.
      ERIC CORLEY, ALSO KNOWN AS EMMANUEL GOLDSTEIN, AND 2600 ENTERPRISES INC., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS,
      UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, INTERVENOR.
      3

      Docket No. 00-9185.
      UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.
      Argued: May 1, 2001.
      Finally Submitted: May 30, 2001.
      Decided: November 28, 2001.

      4

      [433] Kathleen Sullivan, Stanford, Cal. (Martin Garbus, Edward Hernstadt, Frankfurt Garbus Kurnit Klein & Selz, New York, N.Y.; Cindy A. Cohn, Lee Tien, Robin Gross, Elec. Frontier Found., San Francisco, Cal., on the brief), for Defendants-Appellants.

      5

      Charles S. Sims, New York, N.Y. (Leon P. Gold, Jon A. Baumgarten, Carla M. Miller, Matthew J. Morris, Proskauer Rose, New York, N.Y., on the brief), for Plaintiffs-Appellees.

      6

      Daniel S. Alter, Asst. U.S. Atty., New York, N.Y. (Mary Jo White, U.S. Atty., Marla Alhadeff, Asst. U.S. Atty., New York, N.Y., on the brief), for Intervenor United States of America.

      7

      (Prof. Peter Jazsi, Wash. College of Law, American Univ., Wash., D.C.; Prof. Jessica Litman, Wayne State Univ., Detroit, Mich.; Prof. Pamela Samuelson, Univ. of Cal. at Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal.; Ann Beeson, Christopher Hansen, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York, N.Y., submitted a brief in support of Defendants-Appellants, for amici curiae American Civil Liberties Union et al.).

      8

      (Andrew Grosso, Wash., D.C., submitted a brief in support of Defendants-Appellants for amicus curiae ACM Committee on Law and Computing Technology).

      9

      (James S. Tyre, Culver City, Cal., submitted a brief in support of Defendants-Appellants, for amici curiae Dr. Harold Abelson et al.).

      10

      (Edward A. Cavazos, Gavino Morin, Cavazos, Morin, Langenkamp & Ferraro, Austin, Tex., submitted a brief in support of Defendants-Appellants, for amici curiae Ernest Miller et al.).

      11

      (Arnold G. Rheinhold, Cambridge, Mass., submitted a brief amicus curiae in support of Defendant-Appellant 2600 Enterprises, Inc.).

      12

      [434] (Prof. Julie E. Cohen, Georgetown Univ. Law Center, Wash., D.C., submitted a brief in support of Defendants-Appellants, for amici curiae intellectual property law professors).

      13

      (Jennifer S. Granick, Stanford, Cal., submitted a brief in support of Defendants-Appellants, for amici curiae Dr. Steven Bellovin et al.).

      14

      (Prof. Yochai Benkler, N.Y. Univ. School of Law, New York, N.Y.; Prof. Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law School, Stanford, Cal., submitted a brief amici curiae in support of Defendants-Appellants).

      15

      (David A. Greene, First Amendment Project, Oakland, Cal.; Jane E. Kirtley, Erik F. Ugland, Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, Univ. of Minn., Minneapolis, Minn.; Milton Thurm, Thurm & Heller, New York, N.Y., submitted a brief in support of Defendants-Appellants, for amici curiae Online News Ass'n et al.).

      16

      (Prof. Rodney A. Smolla, Univ. of Richmond School of Law, Richmond Va., submitted a brief in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees, for amici curiae Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky et al.).

      17

      (David E. Kendall, Paul B. Gaffney, Williams & Connolly, Wash., D.C.; David M. Proper, National Football League and NFL Properties, New York, N.Y.; Thomas J. Ostertag, Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, New York, N.Y., submitted a brief in support of Plaintiff-Appellees, for amici curiae Recording Ind. Ass'n of Am. et al.).

      18

      (Jeffrey L. Kessler, Robert G. Sugarman, Geoffrey D. Berman, Weil, Gotshal & Manges Llp, New York, N.Y., submitted a brief in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees, for amicus curiae DVD Copy Control Ass'n, Inc.).

      19

      Before: Newman and Cabranes, Circuit Judges, and Thompson,[*] District Judge.

      20

      Jon O. Newman, Circuit Judge.

      21

      When the Framers of the First Amendment prohibited Congress from making any law "abridging the freedom of speech," they were not thinking about computers, computer programs, or the Internet. But neither were they thinking about radio, television, or movies. Just as the inventions at the beginning and middle of the 20th century presented new First Amendment issues, so does the cyber revolution at the end of that century. This appeal raises significant First Amendment issues concerning one aspect of computer technology—encryption to protect materials in digital form from unauthorized access. The appeal challenges the constitutionality of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), 17 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq. (Supp. V 1999) and the validity of an injunction entered to enforce the DMCA.

      22

      Defendant-Appellant Eric C. Corley and his company, 2600 Enterprises, Inc., (collectively "Corley," "the Defendants," or "the Appellants") appeal from the amended final judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Lewis A. Kaplan, District Judge), entered August 23, 2000, enjoining them from various actions concerning a decryption program known as "DeCSS." Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 111 F. Supp. 2d 346 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) ("Universal II"). The injunction primarily bars the Appellants from posting DeCSS on their web site and from knowingly linking [435] their web site to any other web site on which DeCSS is posted. Id. at 346-47. We affirm.

      23
      Introduction
      24

      Understanding the pending appeal and the issues it raises requires some familiarity with technical aspects of computers and computer software, especially software called "digital versatile disks" or "DVDs," which are optical media storage devices currently designed to contain movies.[1] Those lacking such familiarity will be greatly aided by reading Judge Kaplan's extremely lucid opinion, Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 111 F. Supp. 2d 294 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) ("Universal I"), beginning with his helpful section "The Vocabulary of this Case," id. at 305-09.

      25

      This appeal concerns the anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA, which Congress enacted in 1998 to strengthen copyright protection in the digital age. Fearful that the ease with which pirates could copy and distribute a copyrightable work in digital form was overwhelming the capacity of conventional copyright enforcement to find and enjoin unlawfully copied material, Congress sought to combat copyright piracy in its earlier stages, before the work was even copied. The DMCA therefore backed with legal sanctions the efforts of copyright owners to protect their works from piracy behind digital walls such as encryption codes or password protections. In so doing, Congress targeted not only those pirates who would circumvent these digital walls (the "anti-circumvention provisions," contained in 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)), but also anyone who would traffic in a technology primarily designed to circumvent a digital wall (the "anti-trafficking provisions," contained in 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(2), (b)(1)).

      26

      Corley publishes a print magazine and maintains an affiliated web site geared towards "hackers," a digital-era term often applied to those interested in techniques for circumventing protections of computers and computer data from unauthorized access. The so-called hacker community includes serious computer-science scholars conducting research on protection techniques, computer buffs intrigued by the challenge of trying to circumvent access-limiting devices or perhaps hoping to promote security by exposing flaws in protection techniques, mischief-makers interested in disrupting computer operations, and thieves, including copyright infringers who want to acquire copyrighted material (for personal use or resale) without paying for it.

      27

      In November 1999, Corley posted a copy of the decryption computer program "DeCSS" on his web site, http://www.2600.com ("2600.com").[2] DeCSS is designed to circumvent "CSS," the encryption technology [436] that motion picture studios place on DVDs to prevent the unauthorized viewing and copying of motion pictures. Corley also posted on his web site links to other web sites where DeCSS could be found.

      28

      Plaintiffs-Appellees are eight motion picture studios that brought an action in the Southern District of New York seeking injunctive relief against Corley under the DMCA. Following a full non-jury trial, the District Court entered a permanent injunction barring Corley from posting DeCSS on his web site or from knowingly linking via a hyperlink to any other web site containing DeCSS. Universal II, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 346-47. The District Court rejected Corley's constitutional attacks on the statute and the injunction. Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 325-45.

      29

      Corley renews his constitutional challenges on appeal. Specifically, he argues primarily that: (1) the DMCA oversteps limits in the Copyright Clause on the duration of copyright protection; (2) the DMCA as applied to his dissemination of DeCSS violates the First Amendment because computer code is "speech" entitled to full First Amendment protection and the DMCA fails to survive the exacting scrutiny accorded statutes that regulate "speech"; and (3) the DMCA violates the First Amendment and the Copyright Clause by unduly obstructing the "fair use" of copyrighted materials. Corley also argues that the statute is susceptible to, and should therefore be given, a narrow interpretation that avoids alleged constitutional objections.

      30
      Background
      31

      For decades, motion picture studios have made movies available for viewing at home in what is called "analog" format. Movies in this format are placed on videotapes, which can be played on a video cassette recorder ("VCR"). In the early 1990s, the studios began to consider the possibility of distributing movies in digital form as well. Movies in digital form are placed on disks, known as DVDs, which can be played on a DVD player (either a stand-alone device or a component of a computer). DVDs offer advantages over analog tapes, such as improved visual and audio quality, larger data capacity, and greater durability. However, the improved quality of a movie in a digital format brings with it the risk that a virtually perfect copy, i.e., one that will not lose perceptible quality in the copying process, can be readily made at the click of a computer control and instantly distributed to countless recipients throughout the world over the Internet. This case arises out of the movie industry's efforts to respond to this risk by invoking the anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA.

      32
      I. CSS
      33

      The movie studios were reluctant to release movies in digital form until they were confident they had in place adequate safeguards against piracy of their copyrighted movies. The studios took several steps to minimize the piracy threat. First, they settled on the DVD as the standard digital medium for home distribution of movies. The studios then sought an encryption scheme to protect movies on DVDs. They enlisted the help of members of the consumer electronics and computer industries, who in mid-1996 developed the Content Scramble System ("CSS"). CSS is an encryption scheme that employs an algorithm configured by a set of "keys" to encrypt a DVD's contents. The algorithm is a type of mathematical formula for transforming the contents of the movie file into gibberish; the "keys" are in actuality strings of 0's and 1's that serve as values for the mathematical formula. Decryption in the case of CSS requires a set of "player keys" [437] contained in compliant DVD players, as well as an understanding of the CSS encryption algorithm. Without the player keys and the algorithm, a DVD player cannot access the contents of a DVD. With the player keys and the algorithm, a DVD player can display the movie on a television or a computer screen, but does not give a viewer the ability to use the copy function of the computer to copy the movie or to manipulate the digital content of the DVD.

      34

      The studios developed a licensing scheme for distributing the technology to manufacturers of DVD players. Player keys and other information necessary to the CSS scheme were given to manufacturers of DVD players for an administrative fee. In exchange for the licenses, manufacturers were obliged to keep the player keys confidential. Manufacturers were also required in the licensing agreement to prevent the transmission of "CSS data" (a term undefined in the licensing agreement) from a DVD drive to any "internal recording device," including, presumably, a computer hard drive.

      35

      With encryption technology and licensing agreements in hand, the studios began releasing movies on DVDs in 1997, and DVDs quickly gained in popularity, becoming a significant source of studio revenue.[3] In 1998, the studios secured added protection against DVD piracy when Congress passed the DMCA, which prohibits the development or use of technology designed to circumvent a technological protection measure, such as CSS. The pertinent provisions of the DMCA are examined in greater detail below.

      36
      II. DeCSS
      37

      In September 1999, Jon Johansen, a Norwegian teenager, collaborating with two unidentified individuals he met on the Internet, reverse-engineered a licensed DVD player designed to operate on the Microsoft operating system, and culled from it the player keys and other information necessary to decrypt CSS. The record suggests that Johansen was trying to develop a DVD player operable on Linux, an alternative operating system that did not support any licensed DVD players at that time. In order to accomplish this task, Johansen wrote a decryption program executable on Microsoft's operating system.[4] That program was called, appropriately enough, "DeCSS."

      38

      If a user runs the DeCSS program (for example, by clicking on the DeCSS icon on a Microsoft operating system platform) with a DVD in the computer's disk drive, DeCSS will decrypt the DVD's CSS protection, allowing the user to copy the DVD's files and place the copy on the user's hard drive. The result is a very large computer file that can be played on a non-CSS-compliant player and copied, manipulated, and transferred just like any [438] other computer file.[5] DeCSS comes complete with a fairly user-friendly interface that helps the user select from among the DVD's files and assign the decrypted file a location on the user's hard drive. The quality of the resulting decrypted movie is "virtually identical" to that of the encrypted movie on the DVD. Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 308, 313. And the file produced by DeCSS, while large, can be compressed to a manageable size by a compression software called "DivX," available at no cost on the Internet. This compressed file can be copied onto a DVD, or transferred over the Internet (with some patience).[6]

      39

      Johansen posted the executable object code, but not the source code, for DeCSS on his web site. The distinction between source code and object code is relevant to this case, so a brief explanation is warranted. A computer responds to electrical charges, the presence or absence of which [439] is represented by strings of 1's and 0's. Strictly speaking, "object code" consists of those 1's and 0's. Trial Tr. at 759 (Testimony of Professor Edward Felton). While some people can read and program in object code, "it would be inconvenient, inefficient and, for most people, probably impossible to do so." Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 306. Computer languages have been written to facilitate program writing and reading. A program in such a computer language—BASIC, C, and Java are examples—is said to be written in "source code." Source code has the benefit of being much easier to read (by people) than object code, but as a general matter, it must be translated back to object code before it can be read by a computer. This task is usually performed by a program called a compiler. Since computer languages range in complexity, object code can be placed on one end of a spectrum, and different kinds of source code can be arrayed across the spectrum according to the ease with which they are read and understood by humans. See Trial Exhibits BBC (Declaration of David S. Touretzky), BBE (Touretzky Article: Source v. Object Code: A False Dichotomy). Within months of its appearance in executable form on Johansen's web site, DeCSS was widely available on the Internet, in both object code and various forms of source code. See Trial Exhibit CCN (Touretzky Article: Gallery of CSS Descramblers).

      40

      In November 1999, Corley wrote and placed on his web site, 2600.com, an article about the DeCSS phenomenon. His web site is an auxiliary to the print magazine, 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, which Corley has been publishing since 1984.[7] As the name suggests, the magazine is designed for "hackers," as is the web site. While the magazine and the web site cover some issues of general interest to computer users—such as threats to online privacy—the focus of the publications is on the vulnerability of computer security systems, and more specifically, how to exploit that vulnerability in order to circumvent the security systems. Representative articles explain how to steal an Internet domain name and how to break into the computer systems at Federal Express. Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 308-09.

      41

      Corley's article about DeCSS detailed how CSS was cracked, and described the movie industry's efforts to shut down web sites posting DeCSS. It also explained that DeCSS could be used to copy DVDs. At the end of the article, the Defendants posted copies of the object and source code of DeCSS. In Corley's words, he added the code to the story because "in a journalistic world, . . . [y]ou have to show your evidence . . . and particularly in the magazine that I work for, people want to see specifically what it is that we are referring to," including "what evidence . . . we have" that there is in fact technology that circumvents CSS. Trial Tr. at 823. Writing about DeCSS without including the DeCSS code would have been, to Corley, "analogous to printing a story about a picture and not printing the picture." Id. at 825. Corley also added to the article links that he explained would take the reader to other web sites where DeCSS could be found. Id. at 791, 826, 827, 848.

      42

      2600.com was only one of hundreds of web sites that began posting DeCSS near the end of 1999. The movie industry tried to stem the tide by sending cease-and-desist letters to many of these sites. These efforts met with only partial success; a number of sites refused to remove [440] DeCSS. In January 2000, the studios filed this lawsuit.[8]

      43
      III. The DMCA
      44

      The DMCA was enacted in 1998 to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty ("WIPO Treaty"), which requires contracting parties to "provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights under this Treaty or the Berne Convention and that restrict acts, in respect of their works, which are not authorized by the authors concerned or permitted by law." WIPO Treaty, Apr. 12, 1997, art. 11, S. Treaty Doc. No. 105-17 (1997), available at 1997 WL 447232. Even before the treaty, Congress had been devoting attention to the problems faced by copyright enforcement in the digital age. Hearings on the topic have spanned several years. See, e.g., WIPO Copyright Treaties Implementation Act and Online Copyright Liability Limitation Act: Hearing on H.R. 2281 and H.R. 2280 Before the Subcomm. on Courts and Intellectual Property of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 105th Cong. (1997); NII Copyright Protection Act of 1995: Hearings on H.R. 2441 Before the Subcomm. on Courts and Intellectual Property of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 104th Cong. (1996); NII Copyright Protection Act of 1995: Joint Hearing on H.R. 2441 and S. 1284 Before the Subcomm. on Courts and Intellectual Property of the House Comm. on the Judiciary and the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary, 104th Cong. (1995); H.R. Rep. No. 105-551 (1998); S. Rep. No. 105-190 (1998). This legislative effort resulted in the DMCA.

      45

      The Act contains three provisions targeted at the circumvention of technological protections. The first is subsection 1201(a)(1)(A), the anti-circumvention provision.[9] This provision prohibits a person from "circumvent[ing] a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under [Title 17, governing copyright]." The Librarian of Congress is required to promulgate regulations every three years exempting from this subsection individuals who would otherwise be "adversely affected" in "their ability to make noninfringing uses." 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)(B)-(E).

      46

      The second and third provisions are subsections 1201(a)(2) and 1201(b)(1), the "anti-trafficking provisions." Subsection 1201(a)(2), the provision at issue in this case, provides:

      47

      No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that—

      (A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

      (B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; or

      (C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure [441] that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

      48

      Id. § 1201(a)(2). To "circumvent a technological measure" is defined, in pertinent part, as "to descramble a scrambled work . . . or otherwise to . . . bypass . . . a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner." Id. § 1201(a)(3)(A).

      49

      Subsection 1201(b)(1) is similar to subsection 1201(a)(2), except that subsection 1201(a)(2) covers those who traffic in technology that can circumvent "a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under" Title 17, whereas subsection 1201(b)(1) covers those who traffic in technology that can circumvent "protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under" Title 17. Id. § 1201(a)(2), (b)(1) (emphases added). In other words, although both subsections prohibit trafficking in a circumvention technology, the focus of subsection 1201(a)(2) is circumvention of technologies designed to prevent access to a work, and the focus of subsection 1201(b)(1) is circumvention of technologies designed to permit access to a work but prevent copying of the work or some other act that infringes a copyright. See S. Rep. No. 105-190, at 11-12 (1998). Subsection 1201(a)(1) differs from both of these anti-trafficking subsections in that it targets the use of a circumvention technology, not the trafficking in such a technology.

      50

      The DMCA contains exceptions for schools and libraries that want to use circumvention technologies to determine whether to purchase a copyrighted product, 17 U.S.C. § 1201(d); individuals using circumvention technology "for the sole purpose" of trying to achieve "interoperability" of computer programs through reverse-engineering, id. § 1201(f); encryption research aimed at identifying flaws in encryption technology, if the research is conducted to advance the state of knowledge in the field, id. § 1201(g); and several other exceptions not relevant here.

      51

      The DMCA creates civil remedies, id. § 1203, and criminal sanctions, id. § 1204. It specifically authorizes a court to "grant temporary and permanent injunctions on such terms as it deems reasonable to prevent or restrain a violation." Id. § 1203(b)(1).

      52
      IV. Procedural History
      53

      Invoking subsection 1203(b)(1), the Plaintiffs sought an injunction against the Defendants, alleging that the Defendants violated the anti-trafficking provisions of the statute. On January 20, 2000, after a hearing, the District Court issued a preliminary injunction barring the Defendants from posting DeCSS. Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 82 F. Supp. 2d 211 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).

      54

      The Defendants complied with the preliminary injunction, but continued to post links to other web sites carrying DeCSS, an action they termed "electronic civil disobedience." Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 303, 312. Under the heading "Stop the MPAA [(Motion Picture Association of America)]," Corley urged other web sites to post DeCSS lest "we . . . be forced into submission." Id. at 313.

      55

      The Plaintiffs then sought a permanent injunction barring the Defendants from both posting DeCSS and linking to sites containing DeCSS. After a trial on the merits, the Court issued a comprehensive opinion, Universal I, and granted a permanent injunction, Universal II.

      56

      The Court explained that the Defendants' posting of DeCSS on their web site clearly falls within section 1201(a)(2)(A) of the DMCA, rejecting as spurious their claim that CSS is not a technological measure that "effectively controls access to a [442] work" because it was so easily penetrated by Johansen, Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 318, and as irrelevant their contention that DeCSS was designed to create a Linux-platform DVD player, id. at 319. The Court also held that the Defendants cannot avail themselves of any of the DMCA's exceptions, id. at 319-22, and that the alleged importance of DeCSS to certain fair uses of encrypted copyrighted material was immaterial to their statutory liability, id. at 322-24. The Court went on to hold that when the Defendants "proclaimed on their own site that DeCSS could be had by clicking on the hyperlinks" on their site, they were trafficking in DeCSS, and therefore liable for their linking as well as their posting. Id. at 325.

      57

      Turning to the Defendants' numerous constitutional arguments, the Court first held that computer code like DeCSS is "speech" that is "protected" (in the sense of "covered") by the First Amendment, id. at 327, but that because the DMCA is targeting the "functional" aspect of that speech, id. at 328-29, it is "content neutral," id. at 329,[10] and the intermediate scrutiny of United States v. O'Brien, 391 U.S. 367, 377 (1968), applies, Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 329-30. The Court concluded that the DMCA survives this scrutiny, id. at 330-33, and also rejected prior restraint, overbreadth, and vagueness challenges, id. at 333-39.

      58

      The Court upheld the constitutionality of the DMCA's application to linking on similar grounds: linking, the Court concluded, is "speech," but the DMCA is content-neutral, targeting only the functional components of that speech. Therefore, its application to linking is also evaluated under O'Brien, and, thus evaluated, survives intermediate scrutiny. However, the Court concluded that a blanket proscription on linking would create a risk of chilling legitimate linking on the web. The Court therefore crafted a restrictive test for linking liability (discussed below) that it believed sufficiently mitigated that risk. The Court then found its test satisfied in this case. Id. at 339-41.

      59

      Finally, the Court concluded that an injunction was highly appropriate in this case. The Court observed that DeCSS was harming the Plaintiffs, not only because they were now exposed to the possibility of piracy and therefore were obliged to develop costly new safeguards for DVDs, but also because, even if there was only indirect evidence that DeCSS availability actually facilitated DVD piracy,[11] the threat of piracy was very real, particularly as Internet transmission speeds continue to increase. Id. at 314-15, 342. Acknowledging that DeCSS was (and still is) widely available on the Internet, the Court expressed confidence in

      60

      the likelihood . . . that this decision will serve notice on others that "the strong right arm of equity" may be brought to bear against them absent a change in their conduct and thus contribute to a climate of appropriate respect for intellectual property rights in an age in which the excitement of ready access to [443] untold quantities of information has blurred in some minds the fact that taking what is not yours and not freely offered to you is stealing.

      61

      Id. at 345.

      62

      The Court's injunction barred the Defendants from: "posting on any Internet web site" DeCSS; "in any other way . . . offering to the public, providing, or otherwise trafficking in DeCSS"; violating the anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA in any other manner, and finally "knowingly linking any Internet web site operated by them to any other web site containing DeCSS, or knowingly maintaining any such link, for the purpose of disseminating DeCSS." Universal II, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 346-47.

      63

      The Appellants have appealed from the permanent injunction. The United States has intervened in support of the constitutionality of the DMCA. We have also had the benefit of a number of amicus curiae briefs, supporting and opposing the District Court's judgment. After oral argument, we invited the parties to submit responses to a series of specific questions, and we have received helpful responses.

      64
      Discussion
      65
      I. Narrow Construction to Avoid Constitutional Doubt
      66

      The Appellants first argue that, because their constitutional arguments are at least substantial, we should interpret the statute narrowly so as to avoid constitutional problems. They identify three different instances of alleged ambiguity in the statute that they claim provide an opportunity for such a narrow interpretation.

      67

      First, they contend that subsection 1201(c)(1), which provides that "[n]othing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title," can be read to allow the circumvention of encryption technology protecting copyrighted material when the material will be put to "fair uses" exempt from copyright liability.[12] We disagree that subsection 1201(c)(1) permits such a reading. Instead, it clearly and simply clarifies that the DMCA targets the circumvention of digital walls guarding copyrighted material (and trafficking in circumvention tools), but does not concern itself with the use of those materials after circumvention has occurred. Subsection 1201(c)(1) ensures that the DMCA is not read to prohibit the "fair use" of information just because that information was obtained in a manner made illegal by the DMCA. The Appellants' much more expansive interpretation of subsection 1201(c)(1) is not only outside the range of plausible readings of the provision, but is also clearly refuted by the statute's legislative history.[13] See Commodity Futures Trading [444] Commission v. Schor, 478 U.S. 833, 841 (1986) (constitutional doubt canon "does not give a court the prerogative to ignore the legislative will").

      68

      Second, the Appellants urge a narrow construction of the DMCA because of subsection 1201(c)(4), which provides that "[n]othing in this section shall enlarge or diminish any rights of free speech or the press for activities using consumer electronics, telecommunications, or computing products." This language is clearly precatory: Congress could not "diminish" constitutional rights of free speech even if it wished to, and the fact that Congress also expressed a reluctance to "enlarge" those rights cuts against the Appellants' effort to infer a narrowing construction of the Act from this provision.

      69

      Third, the Appellants argue that an individual who buys a DVD has the "authority of the copyright owner" to view the DVD, and therefore is exempted from the DMCA pursuant to subsection 1201(a)(3)(A) when the buyer circumvents an encryption technology in order to view the DVD on a competing platform (such as Linux). The basic flaw in this argument is that it misreads subsection 1201(a)(3)(A). That provision exempts from liability those who would "decrypt" an encrypted DVD with the authority of a copyright owner, not those who would "view" a DVD with the authority of a copyright owner.[14] In any event, the Defendants offered no evidence that the Plaintiffs have either explicitly or implicitly authorized DVD buyers to circumvent encryption technology to support use on multiple platforms.[15]

      70

      We conclude that the anti-trafficking and anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA are not susceptible to the narrow interpretations urged by the Appellants. We therefore proceed to consider the Appellants' constitutional claims.

      71
      II. Constitutional Challenge Based on the Copyright Clause
      72

      In a footnote to their brief, the Appellants appear to contend that the DMCA, as construed by the District Court, exceeds the constitutional authority [445] of Congress to grant authors copyrights for a "limited time," U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 8, because it "empower[s] copyright owners to effectively secure perpetual protection by mixing public domain works with copyrighted materials, then locking both up with technological protection measures." Brief for Appellants at 42 n.30. This argument is elaborated in the amici curiae brief filed by Prof. Julie E. Cohen on behalf of herself and 45 other intellectual property law professors. See also David Nimmer, A Riff on Fair Use in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 148 U. Pa. L. Rev. 673, 712 (2000). For two reasons, the argument provides no basis for disturbing the judgment of the District Court.

      73

      First, we have repeatedly ruled that arguments presented to us only in a footnote are not entitled to appellate consideration. Concourse Rehabilitation & Nursing Center Inc. v. DeBuono, 179 F.3d 38, 47 (2d Cir. 1999); United States v. Mapp, 170 F.3d 328, 333 n.8 (2d Cir. 1999); United States v. Restrepo, 986 F.2d 1462, 1463 (2d Cir. 1993). Although an amicus brief can be helpful in elaborating issues properly presented by the parties, it is normally not a method for injecting new issues into an appeal, at least in cases where the parties are competently represented by counsel. See, e.g., Concourse Center, 179 F.3d at 47.

      74

      Second, to whatever extent the argument might have merit at some future time in a case with a properly developed record, the argument is entirely premature and speculative at this time on this record. There is not even a claim, much less evidence, that any Plaintiff has sought to prevent copying of public domain works, or that the injunction prevents the Defendants from copying such works. As Judge Kaplan noted, the possibility that encryption would preclude access to public domain works "does not yet appear to be a problem, although it may emerge as one in the future." Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 338 n.245.

      75
      III. Constitutional Challenges Based on the First Amendment
      76
      A. Applicable Principles
      77

      Last year, in one of our Court's first forays into First Amendment law in the digital age, we took an "evolutionary" approach to the task of tailoring familiar constitutional rules to novel technological circumstances, favoring "narrow" holdings that would permit the law to mature on a "case-by-case" basis. See Name.Space, Inc. v. Network Solutions, Inc., 202 F.3d 573, 584 n.11 (2d Cir. 2000). In that spirit, we proceed, with appropriate caution, to consider the Appellants' First Amendment challenges by analyzing a series of preliminary issues the resolution of which provides a basis for adjudicating the specific objections to the DMCA and its application to DeCSS. These issues, which we consider only to the extent necessary to resolve the pending appeal, are whether computer code is speech, whether computer programs are speech, the scope of First Amendment protection for computer code, and the scope of First Amendment protection for decryption code. Based on our analysis of these issues, we then consider the Appellants' challenge to the injunction's provisions concerning posting and linking.

      78
      1. Code as Speech
      79

      Communication does not lose constitutional protection as "speech" simply because it is expressed in the language of computer code. Mathematical formulae and musical scores are written in "code," i.e., symbolic notations not comprehensible to the uninitiated, and yet both are covered by the First Amendment. If someone [446] chose to write a novel entirely in computer object code by using strings of 1's and 0's for each letter of each word, the resulting work would be no different for constitutional purposes than if it had been written in English. The "object code" version would be incomprehensible to readers outside the programming community (and tedious to read even for most within the community), but it would be no more incomprehensible than a work written in Sanskrit for those unversed in that language. The undisputed evidence reveals that even pure object code can be, and often is, read and understood by experienced programmers. And source code (in any of its various levels of complexity) can be read by many more. See Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 326. Ultimately, however, the ease with which a work is comprehended is irrelevant to the constitutional inquiry. If computer code is distinguishable from conventional speech for First Amendment purposes, it is not because it is written in an obscure language. See Junger v. Daley, 209 F.3d 481, 484 (6th Cir. 2000).

      80
      2. Computer Programs as Speech
      81

      Of course, computer code is not likely to be the language in which a work of literature is written. Instead, it is primarily the language for programs executable by a computer. These programs are essentially instructions to a computer. In general, programs may give instructions either to perform a task or series of tasks when initiated by a single (or double) click of a mouse or, once a program is operational ("launched"), to manipulate data that the user enters into the computer.[16] Whether computer code that gives a computer instructions is "speech" within the meaning of the First Amendment requires consideration of the scope of the Constitution's protection of speech.

      82

      The First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech. . . ." U.S. Const. amend. I. "Speech" is an elusive term, and judges and scholars have debated its bounds for two centuries. Some would confine First Amendment protection to political speech. E.g., Robert Bork, Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems, 47 Ind. L.J. 1 (1971). Others would extend it further to artistic expression. E.g., Marci A. Hamilton, Art Speech, 49 Vand. L. Rev. 73 (1996).

      83

      Whatever might be the merits of these and other approaches, the law has not been so limited. Even dry information, devoid of advocacy, political relevance, or artistic expression, has been accorded First Amendment protection. See Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, 34 (1973) ("The First Amendment protects works which, taken as a whole, have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. . . ." (emphasis added)); Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 484 (1957) (First Amendment embraces "[a]ll ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance," including the "'advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general.'" (quoting 1 Journals of the Continental Congress 108 (1774))); Board of Trustees of Stanford University v. Sullivan, 773 F. Supp. 472, 474 (D.D.C. 1991) ("It is . . . settled . . . that the First Amendment protects scientific expression and debate just [447] as it protects political and artistic expression."); see also Kent Greenawalt, Speech, Crime and the Uses of Language 85 (1989) ("[A]ssertions of fact generally fall within a principle of freedom of speech. . . ."); cf. Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc., 425 U.S. 748, 763 (1976) ("prescription drug price information" is "speech" because a consumer's interest in "the free flow of commercial information" may be "keener by far" than "his interest in the day's most urgent political debate").

      84

      Thus, for example, courts have subjected to First Amendment scrutiny restrictions on the dissemination of technical scientific information, United States v. Progressive, Inc., 467 F. Supp. 990 (W.D. Wis. 1979), and scientific research, Stanford University, 773 F. Supp. at 473, and attempts to regulate the publication of instructions,[17] see, e.g., United States v. Raymond, 228 F.3d 804, 815 (7th Cir. 2000) (First Amendment does not protect instructions for violating the tax laws); United States v. Dahlstrom, 713 F.2d 1423, 1428 (9th Cir. 1983) (same); Herceg v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 814 F.2d 1017, 1020-25 (5th Cir. 1987) (First Amendment protects instructions for engaging in a dangerous sex act); United States v. Featherston, 461 F.2d 1119, 1122-23 (5th Cir. 1972) (First Amendment does not protect instructions for building an explosive device); see also Bernstein v. United States Department of State, 922 F. Supp. 1426, 1435 (N.D. Cal. 1996) ("Instructions, do-it-yourself manuals, [and] recipes" are all "speech").[18]

      85

      Computer programs are not exempted from the category of First Amendment speech simply because their instructions require use of a computer. A recipe is no less "speech" because it calls for the use of an oven, and a musical score is no less "speech" because it specifies performance on an electric guitar. Arguably distinguishing computer programs from conventional language instructions is the fact that programs are executable on a computer. But the fact that a program has the capacity to direct the functioning of a computer does not mean that it lacks the additional capacity to convey information, and it is the conveying of information that renders instructions "speech" for purposes of the First Amendment.[19] The information [448] conveyed by most "instructions" is how to perform a task.

      86

      Instructions such as computer code, which are intended to be executable by a computer, will often convey information capable of comprehension and assessment by a human being.[20] A programmer reading a program learns information about instructing a computer, and might use this information to improve personal programming skills and perhaps the craft of programming. Moreover, programmers communicating ideas to one another almost inevitably communicate in code, much as musicians use notes.[21] Limiting First Amendment protection of programmers to descriptions of computer code (but not the code itself) would impede discourse among computer scholars,[22] just as limiting protection for musicians to descriptions of musical scores (but not sequences of notes) would impede their exchange of ideas and expression. Instructions that communicate information comprehensible to a human qualify as speech whether the instructions are designed for execution by a computer or a human (or both).

      87

      Vartuli is not to the contrary. The defendants in Vartuli marketed a software program called "Recurrence," which would tell computer users when to buy or sell currency futures contracts if their computers were fed currency market rates. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission charged the defendants with violating federal law for, among other things, failing to register as commodity trading advisors for their distribution of the Recurrence software. The defendants maintained that Recurrence's cues to users to buy or sell were protected speech, and that the registration requirement as applied to Recurrence was a constitutionally suspect prior restraint. We rejected the defendants' constitutional claim, holding that Recurrence "in the form it was sold and marketed by the defendants" did not generate speech protected by the First Amendment. Vartuli, 228 F.3d at 111.

      88

      [449] Essential to our ruling in Vartuli was the manner in which the defendants marketed the software and intended that it be used: the defendants told users of the software to follow the software's cues "with no second-guessing," id., and intended that users follow Recurrence's commands "mechanically" and "without the intercession of the mind or the will of the recipient," id. We held that the values served by the First Amendment were not advanced by these instructions, even though the instructions were expressed in words. Id. We acknowledged that some users would, despite the defendants' marketing, refuse to follow Recurrence's cues mechanically but instead would use the commands as a source of information and advice, and that, as to these users, Recurrence's cues might very "well have been 'speech.'" Id. at 111-12. Nevertheless, we concluded that the Government could require registration for Recurrence's intended use because such use was devoid of any constitutionally protected speech. Id. at 112.

      89

      Vartuli considered two ways in which a programmer might be said to communicate through code: to the user of the program (not necessarily protected) and to the computer (never protected).[23] However, this does not mean that Vartuli denied First Amendment protection to all computer programs. Since Vartuli limited its constitutional scrutiny to the code "as marketed," i.e., as an automatic trading system, it did not have occasion to consider a third manner in which a programmer might communicate through code: to another programmer.

      90

      For all of these reasons, we join the other courts that have concluded that computer code, and computer programs constructed from code can merit First Amendment protection, see Junger, 209 F.3d at 484;[24] Bernstein, 922 F. Supp. at 1434-36; see also Bernstein, 176 F.3d at 1140-41; Karn v. United States Department of State, 925 F. Supp. 1, 9-10 (D.D.C. 1996) (assuming, without deciding, that source code with English comments interspersed throughout is "speech"), although the scope of such protection remains to be determined.

      91
      3. The Scope of First Amendment Protection for Computer Code
      92

      Having concluded that computer code conveying information is "speech" [450] within the meaning of the First Amendment, we next consider, to a limited extent, the scope of the protection that code enjoys. As the District Court recognized, Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 327, the scope of protection for speech generally depends on whether the restriction is imposed because of the content of the speech. Content-based restrictions are permissible only if they serve compelling state interests and do so by the least restrictive means available. See Sable Communications of California, Inc. v. FCC, 492 U.S. 115, 126 (1989). A content-neutral restriction is permissible if it serves a substantial governmental interest, the interest is unrelated to the suppression of free expression, and the regulation is narrowly tailored, which "in this context requires . . . that the means chosen do not 'burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government's legitimate interests.'" Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 512 U.S. 622, 662 (1994) (quoting Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781, 799 (1989)).[25]

      93

      "[G]overnment regulation of expressive activity is 'content neutral' if it is justified without reference to the content of regulated speech." Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703, 720 (2000). "The government's purpose is the controlling consideration. A regulation that serves purposes unrelated to the content of expression is deemed neutral, even if it has an incidental effect on some speakers or messages but not others." Ward, 491 U.S. at 791. The Supreme Court's approach to determining content-neutrality appears to be applicable whether what is regulated is expression, see id. at 791-93 (regulation of volume of music), conduct, see O'Brien, 391 U.S. at 377, or any "activity" that can be said to combine speech and non-speech elements, see Spence v. Washington, 418 U.S. 405, 410-11 (1974) (applying O'Brien to "activity" of displaying American flag hung upside down and decorated with a peace symbol).

      94

      To determine whether regulation of computer code is content-neutral, the initial inquiry must be whether the regulated activity is "sufficiently imbued with elements of communication to fall within the scope of the First . . . Amendment[]." Id. at 409; see also Name.Space, 202 F.3d at 585. Computer code, as we have noted, often conveys information comprehensible to human beings, even as it also directs a computer to perform various functions. Once a speech component [451] is identified, the inquiry then proceeds to whether the regulation is "justified without reference to the content of regulated speech." Hill, 530 U.S. at 720.

      95

      The Appellants vigorously reject the idea that computer code can be regulated according to any different standard than that applicable to pure speech, i.e., speech that lacks a nonspeech component. Although recognizing that code is a series of instructions to a computer, they argue that code is no different, for First Amendment purposes, than blueprints that instruct an engineer or recipes that instruct a cook. See Supplemental Brief for Appellants at 2, 3.[26] We disagree. Unlike a blueprint or a recipe, which cannot yield any functional result without human comprehension of its content, human decision-making, and human action, computer code can instantly cause a computer to accomplish tasks and instantly render the results of those tasks available throughout the world via the Internet. The only human action required to achieve these results can be as limited and instantaneous as a single click of a mouse. These realities of what code is and what its normal functions are require a First Amendment analysis that treats code as combining nonspeech and speech elements, i.e., functional and expressive elements. See Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367, 386 (1969) ("[D]ifferences in the characteristics of new media justify differences in the First Amendment standards applied to them." (footnote omitted)).

      96

      We recognize, as did Judge Kaplan, that the functional capability of computer code cannot yield a result until a human being decides to insert the disk containing the code into a computer and causes it to perform its function (or programs a computer to cause the code to perform its function). Nevertheless, this momentary intercession of human action does not diminish the nonspeech component of code, nor render code entirely speech, like a blueprint or a recipe. Judge Kaplan, in a passage that merits extensive quotation, cogently explained why this is especially so with respect to decryption code:

      97

      [T]he focus on functionality in order to determine the level of scrutiny is not an inevitable consequence of the speech-conduct distinction. Conduct has immediate effects on the environment. Computer code, on the other hand, no matter how functional, causes a computer to perform the intended operations only if someone uses the code to do so. Hence, one commentator, in a thoughtful article, has maintained that functionality is really "a proxy for effects or harm" and that its adoption as a determinant of the level of scrutiny slides over questions of causation that intervene between the dissemination of a computer program and any harm caused by its use.

      The characterization of functionality as a proxy for the consequences of use is accurate. But the assumption that the chain of causation is too attenuated to justify the use of functionality to determine the level of scrutiny, at least in this context, is not.

      Society increasingly depends upon technological means of controlling access to digital files and systems, whether they are military computers, bank records, academic records, copyrighted works or something else entirely. There are far too many who, given any opportunity, will bypass security measures, [452] some for the sheer joy of doing it, some for innocuous reasons, and others for more malevolent purposes. Given the virtually instantaneous and worldwide dissemination widely available via the Internet, the only rational assumption is that once a computer program capable of bypassing such an access control system is disseminated, it will be used. And that is not all.

      There was a time when copyright infringement could be dealt with quite adequately by focusing on the infringing act. If someone wished to make and sell high quality but unauthorized copies of a copyrighted book, for example, the infringer needed a printing press. The copyright holder, once aware of the appearance of infringing copies, usually was able to trace the copies up the chain of distribution, find and prosecute the infringer, and shut off the infringement at the source.

      In principle, the digital world is very different. Once a decryption program like DeCSS is written, it quickly can be sent all over the world. Every recipient is capable not only of decrypting and perfectly copying plaintiffs' copyrighted DVDs, but also of retransmitting perfect copies of DeCSS and thus enabling every recipient to do the same. They likewise are capable of transmitting perfect copies of the decrypted DVD. The process potentially is exponential rather than linear.

      . . . . .

      These considerations drastically alter consideration of the causal link between dissemination of computer programs such as this and their illicit use. Causation in the law ultimately involves practical policy judgments. Here, dissemination itself carries very substantial risk of imminent harm because the mechanism is so unusual by which dissemination of means of circumventing access controls to copyrighted works threatens to produce virtually unstoppable infringement of copyright. In consequence, the causal link between the dissemination of circumvention computer programs and their improper use is more than sufficiently close to warrant selection of a level of constitutional scrutiny based on the programs' functionality.

      98

      Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 331-32 (footnotes omitted). The functionality of computer code properly affects the scope of its First Amendment protection.

      99
      4. The Scope of First Amendment Protection for Decryption Code
      100

      In considering the scope of First Amendment protection for a decryption program like DeCSS, we must recognize that the essential purpose of encryption code is to prevent unauthorized access. Owners of all property rights are entitled to prohibit access to their property by unauthorized persons. Homeowners can install locks on the doors of their houses. Custodians of valuables can place them in safes. Stores can attach to products security devices that will activate alarms if the products are taken away without purchase. These and similar security devices can be circumvented. Burglars can use skeleton keys to open door locks. Thieves can obtain the combinations to safes. Product security devices can be neutralized.

      101

      Our case concerns a security device, CSS computer code, that prevents access by unauthorized persons to DVD movies. The CSS code is embedded in the DVD movie. Access to the movie cannot be obtained unless a person has a device, a licensed DVD player, equipped with computer code capable of decrypting the CSS encryption code. In its basic function, [453] CSS is like a lock on a homeowner's door, a combination of a safe, or a security device attached to a store's products.

      102

      DeCSS is computer code that can decrypt CSS. In its basic function, it is like a skeleton key that can open a locked door, a combination that can open a safe, or a device that can neutralize the security device attached to a store's products.[27] DeCSS enables anyone to gain access to a DVD movie without using a DVD player.

      103

      The initial use of DeCSS to gain access to a DVD movie creates no loss to movie producers because the initial user must purchase the DVD. However, once the DVD is purchased, DeCSS enables the initial user to copy the movie in digital form and transmit it instantly in virtually limitless quantity, thereby depriving the movie producer of sales. The advent of the Internet creates the potential for instantaneous worldwide distribution of the copied material.

      104

      At first glance, one might think that Congress has as much authority to regulate the distribution of computer code to decrypt DVD movies as it has to regulate distribution of skeleton keys, combinations to safes, or devices to neutralize store product security devices. However, despite the evident legitimacy of protection against unauthorized access to DVD movies, just like any other property, regulation of decryption code like DeCSS is challenged in this case because DeCSS differs from a skeleton key in one important respect: it not only is capable of performing the function of unlocking the encrypted DVD movie, it also is a form of communication, albeit written in a language not understood by the general public. As a communication, the DeCSS code has a claim to being "speech," and as "speech," it has a claim to being protected by the First Amendment. But just as the realities of what any computer code can accomplish must inform the scope of its constitutional protection, so the capacity of a decryption program like DeCSS to accomplish unauthorized—indeed, unlawful—access to materials in which the Plaintiffs have intellectual property rights must inform and limit the scope of its First Amendment protection. Cf. Red Lion, 395 U.S. at 386 ("[D]ifferences in the characteristics of new media justify differences in the First Amendment standards applied to them.").

      105

      With all of the foregoing considerations in mind, we next consider the Appellants' First Amendment challenge to the DMCA as applied in the specific prohibitions that have been imposed by the District Court's injunction.

      106
      B. First Amendment Challenge
      107

      The District Court's injunction applies the DMCA to the Defendants by imposing two types of prohibition, both grounded on the anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA. The first prohibits posting DeCSS or any other technology for circumventing CSS on any Internet web site. Universal II, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 346-47, ¶ 1(a), (b). The second prohibits knowingly linking any Internet web site to any other web site containing DeCSS. Id. at 347, ¶ 1(c). The validity of the posting and linking prohibitions must be considered separately.

      108
      1. Posting
      109

      The initial issue is whether the posting prohibition is content-neutral, since, as we have explained, this classification [454] determines the applicable constitutional standard. The Appellants contend that the anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA and their application by means of the posting prohibition of the injunction are content-based. They argue that the provisions "specifically target . . . scientific expression based on the particular topic addressed by that expression—namely, techniques for circumventing CSS." Supplemental Brief for Appellants at 1. We disagree. The Appellants' argument fails to recognize that the target of the posting provisions of the injunction—DeCSS—has both a nonspeech and a speech component, and that the DMCA, as applied to the Appellants, and the posting prohibition of the injunction target only the nonspeech component. Neither the DMCA nor the posting prohibition is concerned with whatever capacity DeCSS might have for conveying information to a human being, and that capacity, as previously explained, is what arguably creates a speech component of the decryption code. The DMCA and the posting prohibition are applied to DeCSS solely because of its capacity to instruct a computer to decrypt CSS. That functional capability is not speech within the meaning of the First Amendment. The Government seeks to "justif[y]," Hill, 530 U.S. at 720, both the application of the DMCA and the posting prohibition to the Appellants solely on the basis of the functional capability of DeCSS to instruct a computer to decrypt CSS, i.e., "without reference to the content of the regulated speech," id. This type of regulation is therefore content-neutral, just as would be a restriction on trafficking in skeleton keys identified because of their capacity to unlock jail cells, even though some of the keys happened to bear a slogan or other legend that qualified as a speech component.

      110

      As a content-neutral regulation with an incidental effect on a speech component, the regulation must serve a substantial governmental interest, the interest must be unrelated to the suppression of free expression, and the incidental restriction on speech must not burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further that interest. Turner Broadcasting, 512 U.S. at 662. The Government's interest in preventing unauthorized access to encrypted copyrighted material is unquestionably substantial, and the regulation of DeCSS by the posting prohibition plainly serves that interest. Moreover, that interest is unrelated to the suppression of free expression. The injunction regulates the posting of DeCSS, regardless of whether DeCSS code contains any information comprehensible by human beings that would qualify as speech. Whether the incidental regulation on speech burdens substantially more speech than is necessary to further the interest in preventing unauthorized access to copyrighted materials requires some elaboration.

      111

      Posting DeCSS on the Appellants' web site makes it instantly available at the click of a mouse to any person in the world with access to the Internet, and such person can then instantly transmit DeCSS to anyone else with Internet access. Although the prohibition on posting prevents the Appellants from conveying to others the speech component of DeCSS, the Appellants have not suggested, much less shown, any technique for barring them from making this instantaneous worldwide distribution of a decryption code that makes a lesser restriction on the code's speech component.[28] It is true that the [455] Government has alternative means of prohibiting unauthorized access to copyrighted materials. For example, it can create criminal and civil liability for those who gain unauthorized access, and thus it can be argued that the restriction on posting DeCSS is not absolutely necessary to preventing unauthorized access to copyrighted materials. But a content-neutral regulation need not employ the least restrictive means of accomplishing the governmental objective. Id. It need only avoid burdening "substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government's legitimate interests." Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The prohibition on the Defendants' posting of DeCSS satisfies that standard.[29]

      112
      2. Linking
      113

      In considering linking, we need to clarify the sense in which the injunction prohibits such activity. Although the injunction defines several terms, it does not define "linking." Nevertheless, it is evident from the District Court's opinion that it is concerned with "hyperlinks," Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 307; see id. at 339.[30] A hyperlink is a cross-reference (in a distinctive font or color) appearing on one web page that, when activated by the point-and-click of a mouse, brings onto the computer screen another web page. The hyperlink can appear on a screen (window) as text, such as the Internet address ("URL") of the web page being called up or a word or phrase that identifies the web page to be called up, for example, "DeCSS web site." Or the hyperlink can appear as an image, for example, an icon depicting a person sitting at a computer watching a DVD movie and text stating "click here to access DeCSS and see DVD movies for free!" The code for the web page containing the hyperlink contains a computer instruction that associates the link with the URL of the web page to be accessed, such that clicking on the hyperlink instructs the computer to enter the URL of the desired web page and thereby access that page. With a hyperlink on a web page, the linked web site is just one click away.[31]

      114

      [456] In applying the DMCA to linking (via hyperlinks), Judge Kaplan recognized, as he had with DeCSS code, that a hyperlink has both a speech and a nonspeech component. It conveys information, the Internet address of the linked web page, and has the functional capacity to bring the content of the linked web page to the user's computer screen (or, as Judge Kaplan put it, to "take one almost instantaneously to the desired destination." Id.). As he had ruled with respect to DeCSS code, he ruled that application of the DMCA to the Defendants' linking to web sites containing DeCSS is content-neutral because it is justified without regard to the speech component of the hyperlink. Id. The linking prohibition applies whether or not the hyperlink contains any information, comprehensible to a human being, as to the Internet address of the web page being accessed. The linking prohibition is justified solely by the functional capability of the hyperlink.

      115

      Applying the O'Brien/Ward/Turner Broadcasting requirements for content-neutral regulation, Judge Kaplan then ruled that the DMCA, as applied to the Defendants' linking, served substantial governmental interests and was unrelated to the suppression of free expression. Id. We agree. He then carefully considered the "closer call," id., as to whether a linking prohibition would satisfy the narrow tailoring requirement. In an especially carefully considered portion of his opinion, he observed that strict liability for linking to web sites containing DeCSS would risk two impairments of free expression. Web site operators would be inhibited from displaying links to various web pages for fear that a linked page might contain DeCSS, and a prohibition on linking to a web site containing DeCSS would curtail access to whatever other information was contained at the accessed site. Id. at 340.

      116

      To avoid applying the DMCA in a manner that would "burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government's legitimate interests," Turner Broadcasting, 512 U.S. at 662 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted), Judge Kaplan adapted the standards of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 283 (1964), to fashion a limited prohibition against linking to web sites containing DeCSS. He required clear and convincing evidence

      117

      that those responsible for the link (a) know at the relevant time that the offending material is on the linked-to site, (b) know that it is circumvention technology that may not lawfully be offered, and (c) create or maintain the link for the purpose of disseminating that technology.

      118

      Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 341. He then found that the evidence satisfied his three-part test by his required standard of proof. Id.

      119

      In response to our post-argument request for the parties' views on various issues, including specifically Judge Kaplan's test for a linking prohibition, the Appellants replied that his test was deficient for not requiring proof of intent to cause, or aid or abet, harm, and that the only valid test for a linking prohibition would be one that could validly apply to the publication in a print medium of an address for obtaining prohibited material. Supplemental Brief for Appellants at 14. The Appellees and the Government accepted [457] Judge Kaplan's criteria for purposes of asserting the validity of the injunction as applied to the Appellants, with the Government expressing reservations as to the standard of clear and convincing evidence. Supplemental Brief for Appellees at 22-23; Supplemental Brief for Government at 19-21.

      120

      Mindful of the cautious approach to First Amendment claims involving computer technology expressed in Name.Space, 202 F.3d at 584 n.11, we see no need on this appeal to determine whether a test as rigorous as Judge Kaplan's is required to respond to First Amendment objections to the linking provision of the injunction that he issued. It suffices to reject the Appellants' contention that an intent to cause harm is required and that linking can be enjoined only under circumstances applicable to a print medium. As they have throughout their arguments, the Appellants ignore the reality of the functional capacity of decryption computer code and hyperlinks to facilitate instantaneous unauthorized access to copyrighted materials by anyone anywhere in the world. Under the circumstances amply shown by the record, the injunction's linking prohibition validly regulates the Appellants' opportunity instantly to enable anyone anywhere to gain unauthorized access to copyrighted movies on DVDs.[32]

      121

      At oral argument, we asked the Government whether its undoubted power to punish the distribution of obscene materials would permit an injunction prohibiting a newspaper from printing addresses of bookstore locations carrying such materials. In a properly cautious response, the Government stated that the answer would depend on the circumstances of the publication. The Appellants' supplemental papers enthusiastically embraced the arguable analogy between printing bookstore addresses and displaying on a web page links to web sites at which DeCSS may be accessed. Supplemental Brief for Appellants at 14. They confidently asserted that publication of bookstore locations carrying obscene material cannot be enjoined consistent with the First Amendment, and that a prohibition against linking to web sites containing DeCSS is similarly invalid. Id.

      122

      Like many analogies posited to illuminate legal issues, the bookstore analogy is helpful primarily in identifying characteristics that distinguish it from the context of the pending dispute. If a bookstore proprietor is knowingly selling obscene materials, the evil of distributing such materials can be prevented by injunctive relief against the unlawful distribution (and similar distribution by others can be deterred by punishment of the distributor). And if others publish the location of the bookstore, preventive relief against a distributor can be effective before any significant distribution of the prohibited materials has occurred. The digital world, however, creates a very different problem. If obscene materials are posted on one web site and other sites post hyperlinks to the first site, the materials are available for instantaneous worldwide distribution before any preventive measures can be effectively taken.

      123

      This reality obliges courts considering First Amendment claims in the context of the pending case to choose between two unattractive alternatives: either tolerate some impairment of communication in order [458] to permit Congress to prohibit decryption that may lawfully be prevented, or tolerate some decryption in order to avoid some impairment of communication. Although the parties dispute the extent of impairment of communication if the injunction is upheld and the extent of decryption if it is vacated, and differ on the availability and effectiveness of techniques for minimizing both consequences, the fundamental choice between impairing some communication and tolerating decryption cannot be entirely avoided.

      124

      In facing this choice, we are mindful that it is not for us to resolve the issues of public policy implicated by the choice we have identified. Those issues are for Congress. Our task is to determine whether the legislative solution adopted by Congress, as applied to the Appellants by the District Court's injunction, is consistent with the limitations of the First Amendment, and we are satisfied that it is.

      125
      IV. Constitutional Challenge Based on Claimed Restriction of Fair Use
      126

      Asserting that fair use "is rooted in and required by both the Copyright Clause and the First Amendment," Brief for Appellants at 42, the Appellants contend that the DMCA, as applied by the District Court, unconstitutionally "eliminates fair use" of copyrighted materials, id. at 41 (emphasis added). We reject this extravagant claim.

      127

      Preliminarily, we note that the Supreme Court has never held that fair use is constitutionally required, although some isolated statements in its opinions might arguably be enlisted for such a requirement. In Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207 (1990), cited by the Appellants, the Court merely noted that fair use "'permits courts to avoid rigid application of the copyright statute when, on occasion, it would stifle the very creativity which that law is designed to foster,'" id. (quoting Iowa State University Research Foundation, Inc. v. American Broadcasting Cos., 621 F.2d 57, 60 (2d Cir. 1980)); see also Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539, 560 (1985) (noting "the First Amendment protections already embodied in the Copyright Act's distinction between copyrightable expression and uncopyrightable facts and ideas, and the latitude for scholarship and comment traditionally afforded by fair use"). In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569 (1994), the Court observed, "From the infancy of copyright protection, some opportunity for fair use of copyrighted materials has been thought necessary to fulfill copyright's very purpose, '[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts. . . .'"[33] Id. at 575 (citation omitted); see generally William F. Patry, The Fair Use Privilege in Copyright Law 573-82 (2d ed. 1995) (questioning First Amendment protection for fair use).

      128

      We need not explore the extent to which fair use might have constitutional protection, grounded on either the First Amendment or the Copyright Clause, because whatever validity a constitutional claim might have as to an application of the DMCA that impairs fair use of copyrighted materials, such matters are far beyond the [459] scope of this lawsuit for several reasons. In the first place, the Appellants do not claim to be making fair use of any copyrighted materials, and nothing in the injunction prohibits them from making such fair use. They are barred from trafficking in a decryption code that enables unauthorized access to copyrighted materials.

      129

      Second, as the District Court properly noted, to whatever extent the anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA might prevent others from copying portions of DVD movies in order to make fair use of them, "the evidence as to the impact of the anti-trafficking provision[s] of the DMCA on prospective fair users is scanty and fails adequately to address the issues." Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 338 n.246.

      130

      Third, the Appellants have provided no support for their premise that fair use of DVD movies is constitutionally required to be made by copying the original work in its original format.[34] Their examples of the fair uses that they believe others will be prevented from making all involve copying in a digital format those portions of a DVD movie amenable to fair use, a copying that would enable the fair user to manipulate the digitally copied portions. One example is that of a school child who wishes to copy images from a DVD movie to insert into the student's documentary film. We know of no authority for the proposition that fair use, as protected by the Copyright Act, much less the Constitution, guarantees copying by the optimum method or in the identical format of the original. Although the Appellants insisted at oral argument that they should not be relegated to a "horse and buggy" technique in making fair use of DVD movies,[35] the DMCA does not impose even an arguable limitation on the opportunity to make a variety of traditional fair uses of DVD movies, such as commenting on their content, quoting excerpts from their screenplays, and even recording portions of the video images and sounds on film or tape by pointing a camera, a camcorder, or a microphone at a monitor as it displays the DVD movie. The fact that the resulting copy will not be as perfect or as manipulable as a digital copy obtained by having direct access to the DVD movie in its digital form, provides no basis for a claim of unconstitutional limitation of fair use. A film critic making fair use of a movie by quoting selected lines of dialogue has no constitutionally valid claim that the review (in print or on television) would be technologically superior if the reviewer had not been prevented from using a movie camera in the theater, nor has an art student a valid constitutional claim to fair use of a painting by photographing it in a museum. Fair use has never been held to be a guarantee of access to copyrighted material in order to copy it by the fair user's preferred technique or in the format of the original.

      131
      Conclusion
      132

      We have considered all the other arguments of the Appellants and conclude that [460] they provide no basis for disturbing the District Court's judgment. Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.

      133

      [*] Honorable Alvin W. Thompson, United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, sitting by designation.

      134

      [1] DVDs are similar to compact disks (CDs), but differ, among other things, in that they hold far more data. For detailed information concerning DVDs and CDs, see "Fast Guide to CD/DVD" at http://searchWindowsManageability.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid_gci514667,00.html (last updated Aug. 3, 2001).

      135

      [2] "2600" has special significance to the hacker community. It is the hertz frequency ("a unit of frequency of a periodic process equal to one cycle per second," Webster's Third New International Dictionary 1061 (1993)) of a signal that some hackers formerly used to explore the entire telephone system from "operator mode," which was triggered by the transmission of a 2600 hertz tone across a telephone line, Trial Tr. at 786-87, or to place telephone calls without incurring long-distance toll charges, United States v. Brady, 820 F. Supp. 1346, 1355 & n.18 (D. Utah 1993). One such user reportedly discovered that the sound of a toy whistle from a box of Cap'n Crunch cereal matched the telephone company's 2600 hertz tone perfectly. Id. at 1355 n.18.

      136

      [3] By the end of 1997, most if not all DVDs that were released were encrypted with CSS. Trial Tr. at 409; Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 310. Moreover, DVD players were projected to be in ten percent of United States homes by the end of 2000. Trial Tr. at 442; Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 310. In fact, as of 2000, about thirty-five percent of one studio's worldwide revenues from movie distribution was attributable to DVD sales and rentals. Trial Tr. at 403; Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 310 n.69.

      137

      [4] An operating system works with the computer to perform the application's instructions. Generally, an executable application can be played only on the operating system for which it is designed, although interoperability has been improving. At the time of the trial, DeCSS could be run only on the Microsoft Windows operating system. Trial Tr. at 245 (Testimony of Robert W. Schumann).

      138

      [5] An item of some controversy, both in this litigation and elsewhere, is the extent to which CSS-encrypted DVDs can be copied even without DeCSS. The record leaves largely unclear how CSS protects against the copying of a DVD, as contrasted with the playing of a DVD on an unlicensed player. The Defendants' experts insisted that there is nothing about the way CSS operates that prevents the copying of a DVD. Declaration of Frank Stevenson ¶ 23 ("Bit-for-bit copying, which precisely duplicates the content of one DVD to another, results in a fully-playable product."); Trial Tr. at 751 (Testimony of Professor Edward Felten) (CSS "could [not] have prevented the encrypted content from being copied to somewhere else"); Deposition of Barbara Simons at 48-49, 77. Some of the Plaintiffs' experts countered simply that "copying to a hard drive is something that compliant DVD players are not allowed to do," without explaining why. Trial Tr. at 37 (Testimony of Dr. Michael I. Shamos); see also Deposition of John J. Hoy at 347-48; Deposition of Fritz Attaway at 83. Another expert indicated that while a DVD movie can be copied to a computer's hard drive in encrypted form, the movie cannot be played without a DVD actually present in the DVD drive. Deposition of Robert W. Schumann at 153; Second Supplemental Declaration of Robert W. Schumann ¶ 15. This expert did not identify the mechanism that prevents someone from copying encrypted DVDs to a hard drive in the absence of a DVD in the disk drive. However, none of this detracts from these undisputed findings: some feature of either CSS itself, or another (unidentified) safeguard implemented by DVD manufacturers pursuant to their obligations under the CSS licensing scheme, makes it difficult to copy a CSS-encrypted DVD to a hard drive and then compress that DVD to the point where transmission over the Internet is practical. See Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 338. Conversely, a DVD movie file without CSS encryption is easily copied, manipulated, and transferred. See id. at 313. In other words, it might very well be that copying is not blocked by CSS itself, but by some other protection implemented by the DVD player manufacturers. Nonetheless, in decrypting CSS, the DeCSS program (perhaps incidentally) sidesteps whatever it is that blocks copying of the files. While there may be alternative means of extracting a non-encrypted, copyable movie from a DVD—for example, by copying the movie along with its encryption "bit-by-bit," or "ripping" a DVD by siphoning movie file data after CSS has already been decrypted by a licensed player—DeCSS is the superior means of acquiring easily copyable movies, see id. at 342, and in fact, is recommended by a DVD compression web site as the preferred tool for obtaining a decrypted DVD suitable for compression and transmission over the Internet, see id. We acknowledge the complexity and the rapidly changing nature of the technology involved in this case, but it is clear that the Defendants have presented no evidence to refute any of these carefully considered findings by the District Court.

      139

      [6] The District Court determined that even at high speeds, typical of university networks, transmission times ranged from three minutes to six hours. The Court noted, however, that "the availability of high speed network connections in many businesses and institutions, and their growing availability in homes, make Internet and other network traffic in pirated copies a growing threat." Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 315.

      140

      [7] Defendant 2600 Enterprises, Inc., is the company Corley incorporated to run the magazine, maintain the web site, and manage related endeavors like merchandising.

      141

      [8] The lawsuit was filed against Corley, Shawn C. Reimerdes, and Roman Kazan. 2600 Enterprises, Inc., was later added as a defendant. At an earlier stage of the litigation, the action was settled as to Reimerdes and Kazan. See Universal II, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 346.

      142

      [9] For convenience, all references to the DMCA are to the United State Code sections.

      143

      [10] In a supplemental Order, the Court corrected a typographical error in its opinion in Universal I by changing the first sentence of the first full paragraph at 111 F. Supp. 2d 328 to read "Restrictions on the nonspeech elements of expressive conduct fall into the content-neutral category." Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, No. 00 Civ. 0277 (LAK) (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 17, 2001).

      144

      [11] For example, advertisements for pirated DVDs rose dramatically in number after the release of DeCSS on the web, and DVD file compression web sites recommend the use of DeCSS. Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 342.

      145

      [12] In Part IV, infra, we consider the Appellants' claim that the DMCA is unconstitutional because of its effect on opportunities for fair use of copyrighted materials.

      146

      [13] The legislative history of the enacted bill makes quite clear that Congress intended to adopt a "balanced" approach to accommodating both piracy and fair use concerns, eschewing the quick fix of simply exempting from the statute all circumventions for fair use. H.R. Rep. No. 105-551, pt. 2, at 25 (1998). It sought to achieve this goal principally through the use of what it called a "fail-safe" provision in the statute, authorizing the Librarian of Congress to exempt certain users from the anti-circumvention provision when it becomes evident that in practice, the statute is adversely affecting certain kinds of fair use. See 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)(C); H.R. Rep. No. 105-551, pt. 2, at 36 ("Given the threat of a diminution of otherwise lawful access to works and information, the Committee on Commerce believes that a 'fail-safe' mechanism is required. This mechanism would . . . allow the . . . [waiver of the anti-circumvention provisions], for limited time periods, if necessary to prevent a diminution in the availability to individual users of a particular category of copyrighted materials."). Congress also sought to implement a balanced approach through statutory provisions that leave limited areas of breathing space for fair use. A good example is subsection 1201(d), which allows a library or educational institution to circumvent a digital wall in order to determine whether it wishes legitimately to obtain the material behind the wall. See H.R. Rep. No. 105-551, pt. 2, at 41. It would be strange for Congress to open small, carefully limited windows for circumvention to permit fair use in subsection 1201(d) if it then meant to exempt in subsection 1201(c)(1) any circumvention necessary for fair use.

      147

      [14] This is actually what subsection 1201(a)(3)(A) means when read in conjunction with the anti-circumvention provisions. When read together with the anti-trafficking provisions, subsection 1201(a)(3)(A) frees an individual to traffic in encryption technology designed or marketed to circumvent an encryption measure if the owner of the material protected by the encryption measure authorizes that circumvention.

      148

      [15] Even if the Defendants had been able to offer such evidence, and even if they could have demonstrated that DeCSS was "primarily designed . . . for the purpose of" playing DVDs on multiple platforms (and therefore not for the purpose of "circumventing a technological measure"), a proposition questioned by Judge Kaplan, see Universal I, 111 F. Supp. 2d at 311 n.79, the Defendants would defeat liability only under subsection 1201(a)(2)(A). They would still be vulnerable to liability under subsection 1201(a)(2)(C), because they "marketed" DeCSS for the copying of DVDs, not just for the playing of DVDs on multiple platforms. See, e.g., Trial Tr. at 820.

      149

      [16] For example, a program (or part of a program) will give a computer the direction to "launch" a word-processing program like WordPerfect when the icon for WordPerfect is clicked; a program like WordPerfect will give the computer directions to display letters on a screen and manipulate them according to the computer user's preferences whenever the appropriate keys are struck.

      150

      [17] We note that instructions are of varied types. See Vartuli, 228 F.3d at 111. "Orders" from one member of a conspiracy to another member, or from a superior to a subordinate, might resemble instructions but nonetheless warrant less or even no constitutional protection because their capacity to inform is meager, and because it is unlikely that the recipient of the order will engage in the "intercession of . . . mind or . . . will" characteristic of the sort of communication between two parties protected by the Constitution, see id. at 111-12 (noting that statements in the form of orders, instructions, or commands cannot claim "talismanic immunity from constitutional limitations" but "should be subjected to careful and particularized analysis to ensure that no speech entitled to First Amendment protection fails to receive it"); Kent Greenawalt, Speech and Crime, Am. B. Found. Res. J. 645, 743-44 (1980).

      151

      [18] These cases almost always concern instructions on how to commit illegal acts. Several courts have concluded that such instructions fall outside the First Amendment. However, these conclusions never rest on the fact that the speech took the form of instructions, but rather on the fact that the instructions counseled the listener how to commit illegal acts. See, e.g., Rice v. Paladin Enterprises, Inc., 128 F.3d 233, 247-49 (4th Cir. 1997); United States v. Barnett, 667 F.2d 835, 842 (9th Cir. 1982). None of these opinions even hints that instructions are a form of speech categorically outside the First Amendment.

      152

      [19] Of course, we do not mean to suggest that the communication of "information" is a prerequisite of protected "speech." Protected speech may communicate, among other things, ideas, emotions, or thoughts. We identify "information" only because this is what computer programs most often communicate, in addition to giving directions to a computer.

      153

      [20] However, in the rare case where a human's mental faculties do not intercede in executing the instructions, we have withheld protection. See Vartuli, 228 F.3d at 111.

      154

      [21] Programmers use snippets of code to convey their ideas for new programs; economists and other creators of computer models publish the code of their models in order to demonstrate the models' vigor. Brief of Amici Curiae Dr. Harold Abelson et al. at 17; Brief of Amici Curiae Steven Bellovin et al. at 12-13; see also Bernstein v. United States Department of Justice, 176 F.3d 1132, 1141 (9th Cir.) (concluding that computer source code is speech because it is "the preferred means" of communication among computer programmers and cryptographers), reh'g in banc granted and opinion withdrawn, 192 F.3d 1308 (9th Cir. 1999).

      155

      [22] Reinforcing the conclusion that software programs qualify as "speech" for First Amendment purposes—even though they instruct computers—is the accelerated blurring of the line between "source code" and conventional "speech." There already exist programs capable of translating English descriptions of a program into source code. Trial Tr. at 1101-02 (Testimony of Professor Andrew Appel). These programs are functionally indistinguishable from the compilers that routinely translate source code into object code. These new programs (still apparently rudimentary) hold the potential for turning "prose" instructions on how to write a computer program into the program itself. Even if there were an argument for exempting the latter from First Amendment protection, the former are clearly protected for the reasons set forth in the text. As technology becomes more sophisticated, instructions to other humans will increasingly be executable by computers as well.

      156

      [23] Vartuli reasoned that the interaction between "programming commands as triggers and semiconductors as a conduit," even though communication, is not "speech" within the meaning of the First Amendment and that the communication between Recurrence and a customer using it as intended was similarly not "speech." Vartuli, 228 F.2d at 111.

      157

      [24] The reasoning of Junger has recently been criticized. See Orin S. Kerr, Are We Overprotecting Code? Thoughts on First-Generation Internet Law, 57 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1287 (2000). Prof. Kerr apprehends that if encryption code is First Amendment speech because it conveys "ideas about cryptography," Junger, 209 F.3d at 484, all code will be protected "because code will always convey information about itself." Kerr, supra, at 1291. That should not suffice, he argues, because handing someone an object, for example, a padlock, is a good way of communicating how that object works, yet a padlock is not speech. Id. at 1291-92. However, code does not cease to be speech just because some objects that convey information are not speech. Both code and a padlock can convey information, but only code, because it uses a notational system comprehensible by humans, is communication that qualifies as speech. Prof. Kerr might be right that making the communication of ideas or information the test of whether code is speech provides First Amendment coverage to many, perhaps most, computer programs, but that is a consequence of the information-conveying capacity of the programs, not a reason for denying them First Amendment coverage.

      158

      [25] The Supreme Court has used slightly different formulations to express the narrow tailoring requirement of a content-neutral regulation. In O'Brien, the formulation was "if the incidental restriction on alleged First Amendment freedoms is no greater than is essential to the furtherance of that interest." 391 U.S. at 377. In Ward, the formulation was "'so long as the . . . regulation promotes a substantial government interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation.'" 491 U.S. at 799 (quoting United States v. Albertini, 472 U.S. 675, 689 (1985)). Ward added, however, that the regulation may not "burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government's legitimate interests." Id. (emphasis added). Turner Broadcasting quoted both the "no greater than is essential" formulation from O'Brien, see Turner Broadcasting, 512 U.S. at 662, and the "would be achieved less effectively" formulation from Ward, see id. Turner Broadcasting made clear that the narrow tailoring requirement is less demanding than the least restrictive means requirement of a content-specific regulation, id., and appears to have settled on the "substantially more" phrasing from Ward as the formulation that best expresses the requirement, id. That is the formulation we will apply.

      159

      [26] This argument is elaborated by some of the amici curiae. "In the absence of human intervention, code does not function, it engages in no conduct. It is as passive as a cake recipe." Brief of Amici Curiae Dr. Harold Abelson et al. at 26.

      160

      [27] More dramatically, the Government calls DeCSS "a digital crowbar." Brief for Intervenor United States at 19.

      161

      [28] Briefs of some of the amici curiae discuss the possibility of adequate protection against copying of copyrighted materials by adopting the approach of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, 17 U.S.C. § 1002(a), which requires digital audio tape recorders to include a technology that prevents serial copying, but permits making a single copy. See, e.g., Brief of Amici Curiae Benkler and Lessig at 15. However, the Defendants did not present evidence of the current feasibility of a similar solution to prevent serial copying of DVDs over the Internet. Even if the Government, in defending the DMCA, must sustain a burden of proof in order to satisfy the standards for content-neutral regulation, the Defendants must adduce enough evidence to create fact issues concerning the current availability of less intrusive technological solutions. They did not do so in the District Court. Moreover, we note that when Congress opted for the solution to serial copying of digital audio tapes, it imposed a special royalty on manufacturers of digital audio recording devices to be distributed to appropriate copyright holders. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 1003-1007. We doubt if the First Amendment required Congress to adopt a similar technology/royalty scheme for regulating the copying of DVDs, but in any event the record in this case provides no basis for invalidating the anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA or the injunction for lack of such an alternative approach.

      162

      [29] We have considered the opinion of a California intermediate appellate court in DVD Copy Control Ass'n v. Bunner, 93 Cal.App.4th 648, 113 Cal.Rptr.2d 338 (2001) (Cal. Ct. App., 6th Dist. Nov. 1, 2001), declining, on First Amendment grounds, to issue a preliminary injunction under state trade secrets law prohibiting a web site operator from posting DeCSS. To the extent that DVD Copy Control disagrees with our First Amendment analysis, we decline to follow it.

      163

      [30] "Hyperlinks" are also called "hypertext links" or "active links."

      164

      [31] "Linking" not accomplished by a hyperlink would simply involve the posting of the Internet address ("URL") of another web page. A "link" of this sort is sometimes called an "inactive link." With an inactive link, the linked web page would be only four clicks away, one click to select the URL address for copying, one click to copy the address, one click to "paste" the address into the text box for URL addresses, and one click (or striking the "enter" key) to instruct the computer to call up the linked web site.

      165

      [32] We acknowledge that the prohibition on linking restricts more than Corley's ability to facilitate instant access to DeCSS on linked web sites; it also restricts his ability to facilitate access to whatever protected speech is available on those sites. However, those who maintain the linked sites can instantly make their protected material available for linking by Corley by the simple expedient of deleting DeCSS from their web sites.

      166

      [33] Although we have recognized that the First Amendment provides no entitlement to use copyrighted materials beyond that accorded by the privilege of fair use, except in "an extraordinary case," Twin Peaks Productions, Inc. v. Publications International, Ltd., 996 F.2d 1366, 1378 (2d Cir. 1993), we have not ruled that the Constitution guarantees any particular formulation or minimum availability of the fair use defense.

      167

      [34] As expressed in their supplemental papers, the position of the Appellants is that "fair use extends to works in whatever form they are offered to the public," Supplemental Brief for Appellants at 20, by which we understand the Appellants to contend not merely that fair use may be made of DVD movies but that the fair user must be permitted access to the digital version of the DVD in order to directly copy excerpts for fair use in a digital format.

      168

      [35] In their supplemental papers, the Appellants contend, rather hyperbolically, that a prohibition on using copying machines to assist in making fair use of texts could not validly be upheld by the availability of "monks to scribe the relevant passages." Supplemental Brief for Appellants at 20.

    • 2.2 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. v. Jung, 422 F.3d 630 (8th Cir. 2005)

      1

      422 F.3d 630

      2
      DAVIDSON & ASSOCIATES, doing business as Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.; Vivendi Universal, Inc., Plaintiffs — Appellees,
      v.
      Tim JUNG, an individual; Rob Crittenden, Defendants — Appellants,
      Intellectual Property Law Professors, Amicus Curiae,
      Internet Gateway, Defendants — Appellants,
      Computer & Communications Industry Association; Open Source & Industry Alliance; Consumers Union; Public Knowledge; Intellectual Property Law Professors; The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., Amici on Behalf of Appellants,
      Entertainment Software Association; Recording Industry Association of America; Motion Picture Association of America, Incorporated; Data Tree, LLC; First American Real Estate Solutions, LLC; Reed Elsevier, Inc. Twenty-Second Century Foundation, Inc.; Software & Information Industry Association, Amici on Behalf of Appellees.
      3

      No. 04-3654.
      United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
      Submitted: June 20, 2005.
      Filed: September 1, 2005.

      4

      [632] Paul S. Grewal, argued, Cupertino, CA (Robert M. Galvin and Richard C. Lin, Cupertino, CA, Jason M. Schultz, San Francisco, CA, Mark Sableman and Matthew Braunel, St. Louis, MO, on the brief), for appellant.

      5

      Stephen H. Rovak, argued, St. Louis, MO (Kirill Y. Abramov, St. Louis, MO, Carol Anne Been and Gerald E. Fradin, Chicago, IL, on the brief), for appellee.

      6

      Before MURPHY, BYE, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.

      7

      SMITH, Circuit Judge.

      8

      Davidson & Associates, Inc. d/b/a Blizzard Entertainment ("Blizzard") and Vivendi Universal Games, Inc. ("Vivendi"), owner of copyrights in computer game software and online gaming service software sued Ross Combs ("Combs"), Rob Crittenden ("Crittenden"), Jim Jung ("Jung"), and Internet Gateway, Inc. ("Internet Gateway") (collectively referred to as "Appellants"), for breach of contract, circumvention of copyright protection system, and trafficking in circumvention technology. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Blizzard and Vivendi, and determined that: (1) Blizzard's software end-user license and terms of usage agreements were enforceable contracts; (2) Appellants waived any "fair use" defense; (3) the agreements did not constitute misuse of copyright; and (4) Appellants violated the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). We affirm.

      9
      [633] I. Background
      10
      A. Factual Background
      11

      Blizzard, a California corporation and subsidiary of Vivendi, creates and sells software games for personal computers. This appeal concerns the particular Blizzard games "StarCraft," "StarCraft: Brood War," "WarCraft II: Battle.net Edition," "Diablo," and "Diablo II: Lord of Destruction." Combs and Crittenden are computer programmers, Jung is a systems administrator, and Internet Gateway is an Internet service provider based in St. Peters, Missouri. Jung is also the president, co-owner, and day-to-day operator of Internet Gateway.

      12

      In January 1997, Blizzard officially launched "Battle.net," a 24-hour online-gaming service available exclusively to purchasers of its computer games. The Battle.net service has nearly 12 million active users who spend more that 2.1 million hours online per day. Blizzard holds valid copyright registrations covering Battle.net and each of its computer games at issue in this litigation. Battle.net is a free service that allows owners of Blizzard games to play each other on their personal computers via the Internet. Battle.net mode allows users to create and join multi-player games that can be accessed across the Internet, to chat with other potential players, to record wins and losses and save advancements in an individual password-protected game account, and to participate with others in tournament play featuring elimination rounds.[1] Players can set up private "chat channels" and private games on Battle.net to allow players to determine with whom they wish to interact online. These Battle.net mode features are only accessible from within the games.

      13

      Like most computer software, Blizzard's games can be easily copied and distributed over the Internet. Blizzard has taken steps to avoid piracy by designing Battle.net to restrict access and use of the Battle.net mode feature of the game. Each time a user logs onto Battle.net, a Battle.net server examines the user's version of the game software. If a Blizzard game does not have the latest software upgrades and fixes, the Battle.net service updates the customer's game before allowing the game to play in Battle.net mode.

      14

      With the exception of "Diablo," each authorized version of a Blizzard game comes with a "CD Key." A CD Key is a unique sequence of alphanumeric characters printed on a sticker attached to the case in which the CD-ROM was packaged.[2] To log on to Battle.net and access Battle.net mode, the game initiates an authentication sequence or "secret handshake" between the game and the Battle.net server.[3] In [634] order to play the Blizzard game contained on a CD-ROM, a user must first install the game onto a computer and agree to the terms of the End User License Agreement ("EULA")[4] and Terms of Use ("TOU"),[5] [635] both of which prohibit reverse engineering. At the end of both the EULA and TOU, Blizzard includes a button with the text, "I Agree" in it, which the user must select in order to proceed with the installation. Users are also required to enter a name and the CD Key during installation of Battle.net and Blizzard games.

      15

      The outside packaging of all Blizzard games, except for Diablo, contains a statement that use of the game is subject to the EULA and that use of Battle.net is subject to the terms of the TOU. The terms of neither the EULA nor the TOU appear on the outside packaging. If the user does not agree to these terms, the game may be returned for a full refund of the purchase price within thirty (30) days of the original purchase. Combs, Crittenden, and Jung installed Blizzard games and agreed to the terms of the EULA. Crittenden and Jung logged onto Battle.net and agreed to the TOU.

      16

      The users of Battle.net have occasionally experienced difficulties with the service.[6] To address their frustrations with Battle.net, a group of non-profit volunteer game hobbyists, programmers, and other individuals formed a group called the "bnetd project." The bnetd project developed a program called the "bnetd.org server" that emulates the Battle.net service and permits users to play online without use of Battle.net. The bnetd project is a volunteer effort and the project has always offered the bnetd program for free to anyone. Combs, Crittenden, and Jung were lead developers for the bnetd project.

      17

      The bnetd project was organized and managed over the Internet through a website, www.bnetd.org, that was made available to the public through equipment provided by Internet Gateway. The bnetd.org emulator provides a server that allows gamers unable or unwilling to connect to Battle.net to experience the multi-player features of Blizzard's games. The bnetd.org emulator also provides matchmaking services for users of Blizzard games who want to play those games in a multi-player environment without using Battle.net. Bnetd.org attempted to mirror all of the user-visible features of Battle.net, including online discussion forums and information about the bnetd project, as well as access to the program's computer code for others to copy and modify.

      18

      To serve as a functional alternative to Battle.net, bnetd.org had to be compatible with Blizzard's software. In particular, compatibility required that bnetd.org speak the same protocol language that the Battle.net speaks. By speaking the same protocol language, the bnetd programs [636] would be interoperable with Blizzard games. Once game play starts, a user perceives no difference between Battle.net and the bnetd.org.

      19

      By necessity, Appellants used reverse engineering to learn Blizzard's protocol language and to ensure that bnetd.org worked with Blizzard games. Combs used reverse engineering to develop the bnetd.org server, including a program called "tcpdump" to log communications between Blizzard games and the Battle.net server. Crittenden used reverse engineering to develop the bnetd.org server, including using a program called "Nextray." Crittenden also used a program called "ripper" to take Blizzard client files that were compiled together in one file and break them into their component parts. Crittenden used the ripper program to determine how Blizzard games displayed ad banners so that bnetd.org could display ad banners to users in the format that Blizzard uses on the Battle.net service. Combs tried to disassemble a Blizzard game to figure out how to implement a feature that allowed bnetd.org to protect the password that a user enters when creating an account in Battle.net mode. Crittenden made an unauthorized copy of a Blizzard game in order to test the interoperability of the bnetd.org server with multiple games.

      20

      Blizzard designed its games to connect only to Battle.net servers. To enable a Blizzard game to connect to a bnetd.org server instead of a Battle.net server, bnetd had to modify the computer file that contained the Internet address of the Battle.net servers. As part of the bnetd project, Combs participated in the development of a utility program called "BNS" to allow Blizzard games to connect to bnetd.org servers more easily. Through the BNS program, the game sends the bnetd.org server information about its CD Key. An individual can thus play one of the Blizzard games at issue over the Internet via bnetd.org rather than Battle.net. According to Blizzard, the EULAs and TOUs prohibit this activity.

      21

      Bnetd.org has important operational differences from Battle.net.[7] When bnetd.org receives the CD Key information, unlike Battle.net, it does not determine whether the CD Key is valid or currently in use by another player. The bnetd.org server computer code always sends the game an "okay" reply regardless of whether the CD Key is valid or currently in use by another player. The bnetd.org emulator always allows the Blizzard games to access Battle.net mode features even if the user does not have a valid or unique CD Key. Blizzard did not disclose the methods it used to generate CD Keys or to confirm the validity of CD Keys.

      22

      Combs, Crittenden, and Jung used Blizzard games to log into bnetd .org. Crittenden was aware that unauthorized versions of Blizzard games were played on bnetd.org. Jung knew that the bnetd.org emulator did not require that Blizzard games provide valid CD Keys. Combs suspected that the bnetd.org emulator would not know the difference between a real game and a pirated game. Combs and Crittenden either sent portions of the bnetd software to Jung to place on the www.bnetd.org website for download or put the [637] software on the website themselves. Combs made the bnetd software available on his website located at www.cs.nmsu.edu/~rcombs/sc/. Also distributed was the BNS utility program which allowed Blizzard games to connect to bnetd.org. The source code was made available as an "open source" application, meaning that others were free to copy the source code and distribute it with or without modifications. Because the bnetd.org source code was freely available, others developed additional Battle.net emulators based on the bnetd.org source code. Binary versions of the bnetd.org were distributed which made it more convenient for users to set up and access the emulator program. Internet Gateway has donated space on its computers for use by the bnetd project. Internet Gateway also hosted a bnetd.org server that anyone on the Internet could access and use to play Blizzard games in Battle.net mode.

      23
      B. Procedural Background
      24

      Blizzard and Vivendi brought suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The second amended complaint alleged copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501; circumvention of copyright protection systems and trafficking in circumvention technology in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a); federal trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1); federal false designation of origin in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c); common law trademark infringement and unfair competition claims; and breach of the EULA and TOU. Appellants counterclaimed, requesting declaratory relief as to non-infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 501, non-circumvention of copyright under 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a), the unconstitutionality of 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a), and unenforceability of Blizzard's EULA and TOU.

      25

      The district court[8] entered a consent decree and permanent injunction which constituted the full and complete relief on the claims of copyright infringement, federal trademark infringement, federal false designation, and common-law trademark and infringement. The consent decree also provided complete relief on the counterclaim for declaratory judgment for non-infringement and unconstitutionality of 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a). The consent decree resolved all claims except for the claims of circumvention of copyright protection systems and trafficking in circumvention technology under 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a), breach of the EULA and TOU, and the counterclaims for declaratory relief for non-circumvention and unenforceability of the EULA and TOU.

      26

      Both sides motioned for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Blizzard and Vivendi and determined that: (1) Blizzard's software end-user license and terms of usage agreements were enforceable contracts; (2) Appellants waived any "fair use" defense; (3) the agreements did not constitute misuse of copyright; and (4) Appellants violated the DMCA's anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA. Appellants brought this appeal, disputing violations of the DMCA, and now argue that the state breach-of-contract claims were preempted by federal copyright law.

      27
      II. Discussion
      28

      We review the grant or denial of summary judgment de novo, applying the same standard as the district court and [638] may affirm on grounds supported by the record. Bechtold v. City of Rosemount, 104 F.3d 1062, 1068 (8th Cir.1997). Summary judgment is appropriate where the record shows that no genuine issue as to any material fact exists and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Dorsey v. Pinnacle Automation Co., 278 F.3d 830, 834 (8th Cir. 2002). A plaintiff may not merely point to unsupported self-serving allegations, but must substantiate allegations with sufficient probative evidence that would permit a finding in the plaintiff's favor. Wilson v. Int'l Bus. Mach. Corp., 62 F.3d 237, 241 (8th Cir. 1995). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Id. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505.

      29
      A. Preemption
      30

      The Copyright Act provides the exclusive source of protection for "all legal and equitable rights that are equivalent to any of the exclusive rights within the general scope of copyright as specified by . . . [§] 106" of the Copyright Act. See 17 U.S.C. § 301(a). The Copyright Act preempts state laws that attempt to protect rights exclusively protected by federal law. See Nat'l Car Rental Sys., Inc. v. Computer Assocs. Intern., Inc., 991 F.2d 426, 428 (8th Cir.1993). Conversely, the Copyright Act does not preempt state law from enforcing non-equivalent legal or equitable rights. Id. A state cause of action is statutorily or expressly preempted if: (1) the work at issue is within the subject matter of copyright as defined in §§ 102 and 103 of the Copyright Act, and (2) the state-law-created right is equivalent to any of the exclusive rights within the general scope of copyright as specified in § 106. Id. at 428-29 (citing Harper & Row Pub., Inc. v. Nation Enter., 723 F.2d 195, 200 (2d Cir.1983)). Express preemption is no longer at issue in this case.[9]

      31

      This case concerns conflict preemption. Conflict preemption applies when there is no express preemption but (1) it is impossible to comply with both the state and federal law or when (2) the state law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress. Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. Energy Res. Conservation and Dev. Com'n, 461 U.S. 190, 204, 103 S.Ct. 1713, 75 L.Ed.2d 752 (1983); Jones v. Rath Packing Co., 430 U.S. 519, 525, 97 S.Ct. 1305, 51 L.Ed.2d 604 (1977). Appellants, relying upon Vault v. Quaid Software Ltd., 847 F.2d 255, 268-70 (5th Cir.1988), argue that the federal Copyright Act preempts Blizzard's state law breach-of-contract claims. We disagree.

      32

      In Vault, plaintiffs challenged the Louisiana Software License Enforcement Act, which permitted a software producer to impose contractual terms upon software purchasers provided that the terms were set forth in a license agreement comporting with the statute. Id. at 268. "Enforceable terms [under the Louisiana statute] include the prohibition of: (1) any [639] copying of the program for any purpose; and (2) modifying and/or adapting the program in any way, including adaptation by reverse engineering, decompilation or disassembly." Id. at 269 (citation omitted). The Louisiana statute defined reverse engineering, decompiling or disassembling as "any process by which computer software is converted from one form to another form which is more readily understandable to human beings, including without limitation any decoding or decrypting of any computer program which has been encoded or encrypted in any manner." Id. (citation omitted). The Fifth Circuit held that the Louisiana statute conflicted with the rights of computer program owners under the Copyright Act, specifically 17 U.S.C. § 117, which permits a computer program owner to make an adaptation of a program provided that the adaption is either created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine or is for archival purpose only. Id. at 270.

      33

      Unlike in Vault, the state law at issue here neither conflicts with the interoperability exception under 17 U.S.C. § 1201(f) nor restricts rights given under federal law. Appellants contractually accepted restrictions on their ability to reverse engineer by their agreement to the terms of the TOU and EULA. "[P]rivate parties are free to contractually forego the limited ability to reverse engineer a software product under the exemptions of the Copyright Act[,]" Bowers v. Baystate Techs, Inc., 320 F.3d 1317, 1325-26 (Fed.Cir.2003), and "a state can permit parties to contract away a fair use defense or to agree not to engage in uses of copyrighted material that are permitted by the copyright law if the contract is freely negotiated." Id. at 1337 (Dyk, J., dissenting). See also Nat'l Car Rental Sys., Inc., 991 F.2d at 434 (holding that the Copyright Act does not preempt a breach of contract action based on prohibited use of software contained in a license agreement). While Bowers and Nat'l Car Rental were express preemption cases rather than conflict preemption, their reasoning applies here with equal force. By signing the TOUs and EULAs, Appellants expressly relinquished their rights to reverse engineer. Summary judgment on this issue was properly granted in favor of Blizzard and Vivendi.

      34
      B. DMCA Claims and Interoperability Exception
      35

      Congress enacted the DMCA in 1998 to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty ("WIPO Treaty"). WIPO requires contracting nations to "provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights under this Treaty or the Berne Convention and that restrict acts, in respect of their works, which are not authorized by the authors concerned or permitted by law." WIPO Treaty, Apr. 12, 1997, art. 11, S. Treaty Doc. No. 105-17 (1997), available at 1997 WL 447232.[10] The DMCA contains [640] three provisions targeted at the circumvention of technological protections.

      36

      The first is § 1201(a)(1), the anti-circumvention provision. This provision prohibits a person from "circumvent[ing] a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under [Title 17, governing copyright]." The Librarian of Congress is required to promulgate regulations every three years exempting from this subsection individuals who would otherwise be "adversely affected" in "their ability to make noninfringing uses." 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)(B)-(E). Section 1201(a)(1) differs from the second and third provisions in that it targets the use of a circumvention technology, not the trafficking in such a technology.

      37

      The second and third provisions are §§ 1201(a)(2) and 1201(b)(1), the "anti-trafficking provisions." These sections are similar, except that § 1201(a)(2) covers those who traffic in technology that can circumvent "a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under" Title 17, whereas § 1201(b)(1) covers those who traffic in technology that can circumvent "protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under" Title 17. 17 U.S.C. §§ 1201(a)(2) & (b)(1). (Emphases added.) In other words, although both sections prohibit trafficking in a circumvention technology, the focus of § 1201(a)(2) is circumvention of technologies designed to prevent access to a work, and the focus of § 1201(b)(1) is circumvention of technologies designed to permit access to a work but prevent copying of the work or some other act that infringes a copyright. See S.Rep. No. 105-190, at 11-12 (1998).

      38

      The district court determined that Appellants's reverse engineering violated § 1201(a)(1) as well as § 1201(a)(2). We agree.

      39
      1. Anti-Circumvention Violation
      40

      Section 1201(a)(1) provides that "[n]o person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title." The term "circumvent a technological measure" "means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner." 17 U.S.C. § 1201(3)(A). "Effectively controls access to a work" means that the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work. 17 U.S.C. § 1201(3)(B).

      41

      Blizzard games, through Battle.net, employed a technological measure, a software "secret handshake" (CD key), to control access to its copyrighted games. The bnetd.org emulator developed by Appellants allowed the Blizzard game to access Battle.net mode features without a valid or unique CD key. As a result, unauthorized copies of the Blizzard games were played on bnetd.org servers. After Appellants distributed the bnetd program, others developed additional Battle.net emulators based on the bnetd source code. Appellants's distribution of binary versions of the bnetd program facilitated set up and access to the emulator program.

      42

      Relying on Lexmark Int'l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 387 F.3d 522 (6th Cir. 2004), Appellants argue that Battle.net mode is a strictly functional process that lacks creative expression, and thus DMCA protections do not apply. Lexmark [641] Int'l, Inc., concerned two computer programs: the first was known as the "Toner Loading Program" and the second was known as the "Printer Engine Program." Id. at 528. DMCA anti-circumvention claims were brought after Lexmark's authentication sequence contained in its printer cartridges were allegedly circumvented. Id. at 528-29. The district court in that case held that Lexmark's authentication sequence effectively controlled access to the programs because it controlled the consumers' ability to make use of those programs. Id. at 546. The Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that it was not Lexmark's authentication sequence that controlled access to the programs, but the purchase of a Lexmark printer that allowed access to the program. Id. "No security device, in other words, protects access to the . . . program and no security device accordingly must be circumvented to obtain access to that program code." Id. at 547.

      43

      Here, Battle.net's control measure was not freely available. Appellants could not have obtained a copy of Battle.net or made use of the literal elements of Battle.net mode without acts of reverse engineering, which allowed for a circumvention of Battle.net and Battle.net mode. Unlike in Lexmark Int'l, Inc., Battle.net mode codes were not accessible by simply purchasing a Blizzard game or logging onto Battle.net., nor could data from the program be translated into readable source code after which copies were freely available without some type of circumvention. Appellants misread Lexmark Int'l, Inc. and we are unpersuaded that summary judgment on the anti-circumvention violations was improperly granted in favor of Blizzard and Vivendi.

      44
      2. Anti-trafficking Violations
      45

      Section 1201(a)(2) provides that:

      46

      No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that . . . is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; . . . has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; or . . . is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

      47

      17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(2). The bnetd.org emulator had limited commercial purpose because its sole purpose was to avoid the limitations of Battle.net. There is no genuine issue of material fact that Appellants designed and developed the bnetd.org server and emulator for the purpose of circumventing Blizzard's technological measures controlling access to Battle.net and the Blizzard games. Summary judgment was properly granted in favor of Blizzard and Vivendi on the anti-trafficking violations.

      48
      3. Interoperability Exception
      49

      The DMCA contains several exceptions, including one for individuals using circumvention technology "for the sole purpose" of trying to achieve "interoperability" of computer programs through reverse engineering. See 17 U.S.C. § 1201(f). Subsection (f)(4) defines interoperability as "the ability of computer programs to exchange information, and such programs mutually to use the information which has been exchanged." 17 U.S.C. § 1201(f)(4). Appellants argue that the interoperability exception applies to any alleged infringement of Blizzard games and Battle.net. To successfully [642] prove the interoperability defense under § 1201(f), Appellants must show: (1) they lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program; (2) the information gathered as a result of the reverse engineering was not previously readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention; (3) the sole purpose of the reverse engineering was to identify and analyze those elements of the program that were necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs; and (4) the alleged circumvention did not constitute infringement. See 17 U.S.C. § 1201(f).

      50

      Appellants's circumvention in this case constitutes infringement. As detailed earlier, Blizzard's secret handshake between Blizzard games and Battle.net effectively controlled access to Battle.net mode within its games. The purpose of the bnetd.org project was to provide matchmaking services for users of Blizzard games who wanted to play in a multi-player environment without using Battle.net. The bnetd.org emulator enabled users of Blizzard games to access Battle.net mode features without a valid or unique CD key to enter Battle.net. The bnetd.org emulator did not determine whether the CD key was valid or currently in use by another player. As a result, unauthorized copies of the Blizzard games were freely played on bnetd.org servers. Appellants failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to the applicability of the interoperability exception. The district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of Blizzard and Vivendi on the interoperability exception.

      51

      Summary judgment in favor of Blizzard and Vivendi is affirmed.

      52

      [1] In addition to multi-player play over the Internet via Battle.net mode, the various games have the capacity for and permit non-Internet multi-player gaming for a limited number of players who connect to each other via a local area computer network ("LAN"), such as a home network, via modems connected to telephone lines, or by directly connecting two computers together with cables. The features and functions of Battle.net mode, however, cannot be accessed when players are connected through those means.

      53

      [2] The user of the game must input the CD Key into his or her computer when installing the game, and it is subsequently stored on the computer for use in logging on to Battle.net. This is part of an effort to prohibit use of unauthorized or pirated copies of Blizzard games with Battle.net.

      54

      [3] First, the game and the Battle.net server exchange random numbers (one provided by the game and one provided by the server). The game then takes the random numbers, as well as information from the CD Key, and calculates an encrypted alphanumeric sequence that is sent to the Battle.net server. The game performs this encryption to prevent individuals from stealing the game's CD Key when it is transmitted over the Internet. The Battle.net server receives the alphanumeric sequence sent by the game, along with other information sent by the game, and uses this data to determine whether the CD Key information sent by the game is valid. If the CD Key information is valid, the Battle.net server will determine whether the same CD Key is already being used by another game that is currently logged on to that Battle.net server gateway, which includes the eastern and western United States, Europe, and Asia. If the CD Key is both valid and not currently being used by other players on the same Battle.net gateway, the Battle.net server sends a signal to the game that allows the game to enter the Battle.net mode and use the Battle.net gaming services. The Blizzard game waits for this signal before entering Battle.net mode. Battle.net uses an encryption algorithm for this process based on a common encryption algorithm. The standard version of this algorithm was released by the United States government.

      55

      [4] The EULA contains the following language:

      56

      YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY READ THE FOLLOWING END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT BEFORE INSTALLING THIS SOFTWARE PROGRAM. BY INSTALLING, COPYING, OR OTHER WISE USING THE SOFTWARE PROGRAM YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT, PROMPTLY RETURN THE UNUSED SOFTWARE PROGRAM TO THE PLACE OF PURCHASE OR CONTACT BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT CUSTOMER SERVICE . . . FOR A FULL REFUND OF THE PURCHASE PRICE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF THE ORIGINAL PURCHASE.

      This software program (the "Program"), any printed materials, any on-line or electronic documentation, and any and all copies and derivative works of such software program and materials are the copyrighted work of Blizzard Entertainment.

      . . . . .

      Subject to that Grant of Licence hereinabove, you may not, in whole or in part, copy, photocopy, reproduce, translate, reverse engineer, derive source code, modify, disassemble, decompile, create derivative works based on the Program, or remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Program without the prior consent, in writing, of Blizzard.

      57

      (Emphasis added.)

      58

      [5] First-time users of Battle.net are shown the terms of the TOU after a user has installed a Blizzard game and logs onto Battle.net for the first time to play with a purchased Blizzard game product. The TOU states:

      59

      Battle.net(R) ("Battle.net") is the copyrighted work of Blizzard Entertainment(R) ("Blizzard") or its suppliers. All use of Battle.net is governed by the terms of use provided below ("Battle.net Terms of Use"). Battle.net is provided "as is" solely for use by end users of Blizzard software products according to the terms of conditions contained herein. Any use of Battle.net not in accordance with the terms of the Battle.net Terms of Use is expressly prohibited.

      . . . . .

      Blizzard hereby grants, and by using Battle.net you thereby accept, a limited, personal, non-exclusive license and right to use Battle.net using either a home, work, or portable computer.

      . . . . .

      You are entitled to use Battle.net for your own personal use, but you shall not be entitled to[:]

      (i) sell or grant a security interest in or transfer reproductions of Battle.net to other parties in any way, nor to rent, lease, or license Battle.net to others without the prior written consent of Blizzard;

      (ii) copy, photocopy, reproduce, translate, reverse engineer, modify, disassemble, or de-compile [sic] in whole or in part any Battle.net software;

      (iii) create derivative works based on Battle.net;

      (iv) host or provide matchmaking services for any Blizzard software programs or emulate or redirect the communication protocols used by Blizzard as part of Battle.net, through protocol emulation, runneling, modifying, or adding components to the Program, use of a utility program, or any other technique now known or hereafter developed for any purpose, including, but not limited to, network play over the Internet, network play utilizing commercial or non-commercial gaming networks, or as part of content aggregation networks without the prior written consent of Blizzard or exploit Battle.net or any of its parts for any commercial purpose, including but not limited to, use at a location such as a cyber café, arcade, or other location where users are charged a fee, whether hourly or otherwise to use Battle.net;

      (v) use any third-party software to modify Battle.net to change game play, including, but not limited to cheats and/or hacks;

      (vi) use Blizzard's intellectual property rights contained in Battle.net to create or provide any other means through which Blizzard entertainment software products, including, but not limited to, StarCraft, StarCraft: Brood War, Diablo, Diablo II, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, Warcraft II: Battle.net Edition, and Warcraft II may be played by others, including, but not limited to, server emulators.

      60

      (Emphasis added.)

      61

      [6] Blizzard has also received complaints about user profanity and users who win games by modifying Blizzard's software ("client hacks"). In response, Blizzard has added additional server capacity, banned cheaters, and provided for private channels and games.

      62

      [7] The bnetd.org server program is highly configurable, which means that much of the operation of the server is under the control of the administrator running the server. The bnetd.org server allows users to become server administrators and not just players on another server, giving them the ability to allow or deny access to various features of bnetd.org or to modify the computer code of the bnetd.org server. This allows the administrator of bnetd.org to create a gaming environment with different options from those presented to Battle.net users. In contrast, Battle.net is operated solely by Blizzard.

      63

      [8] The Honorable Charles A. Shaw, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri.

      64

      [9] In their briefs, Appellants argued that the TOU and EULA were statutorily preempted by the Copyright Act and/or impermissibly conflicted with the fair use defense contained in the Copyright Act. However, at oral argument, Appellants conceded that the only remaining issue was whether the breach of contract claims conflicted with the interoperability exception contained in the DMCA.

      65

      [10] Even before the treaty, Congress considered the problems posed by copyright infringement in the digital age. Hearings on the topic have spanned several years. See, e.g., WIPO Copyright Treaties Implementation Act and Online Copyright Liability Limitation Act: Hearing on H.R. 2281 and H.R. 2280 Before the Subcomm. on Courts and Intellectual Property of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 105th Cong. (1997); NII Copyright Protection Act of 1995: Hearings on H.R. 2441 Before the Subcomm. on Courts and Intellectual Property of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 104th Cong. (1996); NII Copyright Protection Act of 1995: Joint Hearing on H.R. 2441 and S. 1284 Before the Subcomm. on Courts and Intellectual Property of the House Comm. on the Judiciary and the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary, 104th Cong. (1995); H.R.Rep. No. 105-551 (1998); S.Rep. No. 105-190 (1998). This legislative effort resulted in the DMCA.

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