updated 10/8/2004 6:25:39 PM ET 2004-10-08T22:25:39

The Supreme Court was asked Friday to hold two Internet file-sharing services responsible for their customers' online swapping of copyrighted songs and movies.

An appeals court sided with Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc. in the big-dollar fight over file-sharing.

Lawyers for movie studios and music labels told justices in an appeal that Grokster and StreamCast enable millions of people a day to copy and share their products without permission.

The two companies are "inflicting catastrophic, multibillion-dollar harm on (the movie and record businesses) that cannot be redressed through lawsuits against the millions of direct infringers using those services," Washington attorney Donald Verrilli wrote in the filing.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco had said that unlike Napster, Grokster and StreamCast don't have servers directing users to copyright material. The firms' software lets users trade information over the Internet, and the companies do not know whether that information is copyrighted, the court found.

Attorneys for Grokster and StreamCast have maintained they should not be liable for contributing to copyright infringement, based on illicit actions by their users.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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