Friday, August 10, 2012

Important New P2P Copyright Infringement Ruling

As a copyright infringement attorney, I am always on the lookout for important Internet copyright infringement cases.  Eric Goldman recently commented on the case of David v. CBS Interactive, Inc.  In that case, a group of copyright holders sued CBS for vicarious and contributory copyright infringement relating to file sharing over P2P software offered for download on CBS's website www.download.com.  Plaintiffs also sued on an inducement theory.  CBS filed a Rule 12 motion to dismiss all claims.  The Court dismissed the vicarious and contributory infringement claims, however, the inducement claim survived. 

As Eric Goldman correctly points out, this ruling appears to create a new stand alone claim for inducement liability.  The Court's ruling was based upon the finding that CBS both offered the infringing software and marketed it in a way to induce users to commit copyright infringement.  The Court focused on the fact that CBS offered editorial instructions comparing the P2P software to known agents of infringement such as Limewire and Napster.  I think the lesson is clear, the marketing of file sharing software needs to be vetted by experienced Internet advertising attorneys.

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