The US Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of InternetMovies.com (Rossi) vs. Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA),
a move which InternetMovies.com warns will set the stage for a continued subjective interpretation of the 'good faith' provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
"This decision threatens website owners and sets the standard for unrelenting shut downs prompted [by] copyright holders [alleging] copyright violations without reasonable investigation," warned Michael Jay Rossi, president of InternetMovies.com.
The ruling concerns a case originally filed in 2002 when the MPAA shut down InternetMovies.com for allegedly offering copyrighted materials for illegal download.
The MPAA issued a cease-and-desist letter to the site's host service claiming that Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was available for download. The host was forced to shut down InternetMovies.com under the provisions of the DMCA.
The MPAA claimed that it had behaved in good faith and swore under oath that the 2003 release of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was made available for download in 2001. Rossi denied that the film had been available on the site.
"All I was doing was reporting news about movies online. This now proves that there are no freedom of speech or due process rights on the internet for the common person," said Rossi.
"The MPAA did not dispute that it had made an error in judging the site's content. The District Court, Ninth Circuit Court and Supreme Court have all sided with the subjective interpretation of the DMCA and ruled in favour of the MPAA."
According to Rossi, the ruling will allow copyright holders to continue to abuse website owners with a 'shoot now, ask later' legal attack based on the good faith belief in the DMCA.
"This opens a Pandora's box of troubles for website owners and individuals. I am very sad to see that American rights have been an illusion all this time. The DMCA is meant to serve our constitutional rights," he said.
"I can only hope that copyright holders do not abuse this DMCA super-power, but as you can see they already do. Look for the book downloadable soon: 'In Hollywood we trust, no liberty or justice for all.'"