If you don't want to read through 55 pages, the short version is that as far as the US Supreme Court is concerned, in the case of the MGM against Grokster (on its second hearing following the p2p company's victory), network providers, whether local or internet, which allow users to download pirated music, can be held liable as accessories and sued for the royalties. Ambulance-chasing lawyers will be cracking open the champagne, while network providers and office MIS managers will be gearing up to rewrite their network policies.

Presumably, anyone downloading at a workplace will generally get fired in an attempt to protect the firm, and there will continue to be hapless parents getting sued by the RIAA and BPI over here to make an example of their know-it-all kids- who'll probably wash the car until they're 35 to pay off the settlement.

Grokster was actually the second round in the record companies' fight against disorganised and decentralised peer-to-peer file sharing, after shutting down Napster. Being the pioneer and whipping boy, Napster could at least be reborn as a legitimate company with enough backing to buy off the industry and trade as a business.

In spite of this decision, the lobbying for both sides on Capitol Hill continues and the case will still go back to a lower court which had previously ruled in Grokster's favour. The peer-to-peer tennis match will continue for a long time to come, but now home users have a lot more than viruses and spyware to worry about when they download.

Read the text of the full judgement : here using Acrobat Reader.