All the excitement about new lawsuits against companies like Usenet.com almost makes you forget that there are some really old fights still going on. Like the lawsuits of the music industry against Streamcast Networks, the makes of the Morpheus file sharing software, which just entered its sixth year.

The lawsuit originally included Kazaa and Grokster as well, but Streamcast is the last company that hasn't settled yet, even though it has been on a losing streak ever since the Supreme Court sided with the music industry. The United States District Court Central District of California (yep, that's the name) filed a permanent injunction against Streamcast yesterday, demanding that the company stops distributing Morpheus and stops displaying any advertising on Morpheus clients already in use until it has been able to install effective filters.

Morpheus apparently has been distributing their software since late last year with a home-made, keyword-based filtering system that was based on a list of artists the company found on the RIAA website. Morpheus also stopped their users from downloading any video file bigger than 100 Megabytes and longer than 10 minutes of running time - something that's similar to Youtube's early filtering attempts. Morpheus eventually also included a hash-based copyright filter.

The music industry argued that these filters were ineffective and demanded that Streamcast uses acoustic fingerprinting technology. The court agreed on Streamcast not doing it's homework and appointed a "Special Master" to "aid (the) decision of what constitutes the most 'effective' filtering regiment". It will be interesting to follow this. Decisions on filtering could not only effect the Limewire lawsuit, but also Youtube and other user generated content sites.

The whole court decision is somewhat lengthy, but definitely interesting for all the Grokster geeks out there - most of which seem to be bloggers: EFF staff attorney Jason Schultz started to analyze it in his blog, and Ed Felten poses the most obvious question over at Freedom to Tinker:

"I can understand why the plaintiffs might want to keep StreamCast on life support, in the hope of getting legal rulings that prove helpful elsewhere. But why does StreamCast keep fighting?"

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