Offering P2P File-Sharing Software for Downloading May Be Copyright Inducement–David v. CBS Interactive

23 07 2012

By Eric Goldman

David v. CBS Interactive Inc., CV 11-9437 DSF (C.D. Cal. July 13, 2012). The complaint.

When the Grokster Supreme Court opinion came out in 2005, there was a lot of confusion about the relationship between copyright “inducement” and contributory/vicarious infringement. Did the Supreme Court announce a new basis of derivative liability, or was inducement just a subset of contributory infringement? We haven’t gotten a crystal-clear answer over the years, but this case provides a resounding one: the court says the defendants in this case may be liable for inducing infringement even though they aren’t liable for contributory or vicarious infringement. Because this case demonstrates that inducement can completely bypass the existing derivative liability scheme, it’s troubling.

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