Contributory Copyright Infringement Claim May Need Direct Infringer as a Defendant to Succeed–Miller v. Facebook

5 06 2010

By Eric Goldman

Miller v. Facebook, Inc., 2010 WL 2198204 (N.D. Cal. May 28, 2010)

This is my third time blogging about this case (Jan. 2010 post; April 2010 post). The facts as alleged by the plaintiff have always been a bit sketchy, but here’s my understanding of plaintiff’s beef. Plaintiff is a game developer who developed a game called Boomshine. He alleges Yeo created an infringing version of Boomshine. Yeo then distributed the allegedly infringing version via Facebook, but Facebook’s misconduct has been a little muddled. Miller’s latest attempt to explain Facebook’s wrongful behavior is that (1) “the ChainRxn game was allegedly presented by Facebook’s website to its users through the use of an inline frame (or an ‘iFrame’) so that the content appeared to be originating from Facebook’s website” and (2) Facebook “‘took the ‘affirmative step’ to approve the ChainRxn game for publication in the Facebook Application Directory.” These allegations take the lawsuit squarely into territory governed by the Ninth Circuit’s Perfect 10 v. Amazon ruling.

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ACLU, EFF seek to “sever” gigantic P2P lawsuits

3 06 2010

Imagine yourself as a lawyer who wants to sue 4,577 anonymous Internet users for swapping the Uwe Boll-produced film Far Cry through BitTorrent networks. Would you prefer to file one lawsuit, pay one filing fee, and submit one set of documents, or would you like to file 4,577 separate lawsuits, each with their own filing fees and documents?

The question answers itself, and it explains why Boll’s law firm of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver filed a single federal lawsuit against “Does 1-4,577” in DC’s District Court earlier this year.

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“Canadian DMCA” defends DRM, legalizes DVRs

2 06 2010

Canada’s long-awaited copyright modernization bill appeared today. If passed, it would explicitly legalize DVRs, YouTube mashups, backups, and parodies—and it would slap strong, US-style restrictions on bypassing DRM.

Forget fair dealing; as in the US, digital locks trump all.

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Design without Copyright

30 05 2010
Johanna Blakely at TED: Lessons from Fashions free culture

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Online Copyright Infringement case

29 05 2010

Twentieth Century Film Corporation and others v Newzbin Limited case is an important case on-line copyright infringement, now that the Digital Economy Act 2010 (2010 Act) has been adopted.[UK case, ed.]

Newzbin is a members-only Usenet indexing website that effectively operated a Pier 2 Pier network, by indexing and collating Usenet files, relating to particular works or films. It index listed these files by the name of the film or work and provided reports by Newzbin’s team of editors, giving information about the work.

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Internet democracy at stake in Google/Viacom lawsuit?

28 05 2010

eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, and Ask.com owner IAC/Interactive may compete with Google for users, views and ad clicks, but the four know which side their bread is buttered on when it comes to digital copyright law. That’s why they’ve rushed to Google’s side this week to defend their rival in a massive copyright infringement lawsuit launched by Viacom.

Viacom’s interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) “would slow development of the Internet by making the hosting of user generated content an activity fraught with legal peril,” eBay et al warned the court hearing the case in an amici brief. “The threat of ruinous liability would mean that other companies and services might never get off the ground in the first place.”

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RapidShare didn’t infringe on copyrights, says US court

21 05 2010


The US District Court of California denied adult entertainment company Perfect 10’s request for an injunction against file-sharing service RapidShare on Thursday, saying that the company did not offer sufficient proof that RapidShare itself had infringed on Perfect 10’s copyrights.

Perfect 10 filed its lawsuit against RapidShare in late 2009, alleging that the Germany-based service illegally hosted the company’s images for its members to distribute and download. Since P10 is a for-pay service, it argued that RapidShare was violating its distribution rights and making money off of its stolen content due to RapidShare’s affiliate program that pays members for referring new users.

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Second Circuit Stays Hot News Injunction–Barclays v. theflyonthewall

21 05 2010

[ed: although this case is about financial services, it has implications for all “hot news” and info/site aggregation cases]

By Eric Goldman

Barclays Capital Inc. v. Theflyonthewall.com, Inc., 10-1372-cv (2d Cir. May 19, 2010)

This case is my choice for the most interesting Cyberlaw development of 2010 (so far). Unfortunately, I ran out of time to blog it when the district court opinion came out in March; the opinion was 89 pages, and I must confess that I let my quest for a perfect blog post become the enemy of a good blog post. Some commentary on the district court ruling: Wendy Davis, Sam Bayard (with a detailed First Amendment analysis), Jeff Neuburger. Fortunately, yesterday we got an important new development in the case, which gives me an excuse to recap the case and talk about its implications.

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Five examples of lame DMCA takedowns

16 05 2010

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act serves many purposes, some of which are good, but certain parts of it are ripe for abuse. The infamous DMCA takedown notice is at the top of anyone’s list of most-abused parts of the act. These notices are meant to make it easy for content owners to have violations removed, and they do. But the notices also make it easy for anyone to try and silence criticism or stifle angles they simply don’t like, even if the party in question is working perfectly within the confines of fair use.

Over the course of our coverage here at Ars, we’ve seen a number of DMCA takedown cases that were just plain lame. And, although there are plenty more lame cases that have happened in the world, we thought we would highlight some of our “favorite” ones to show how the DMCA takedown system can be used in an attempt to control content instead of merely enforcing copyrights. Plus, these examples just make us chuckle at the absurdity.

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Text of Decision in Limewire Summary Judgement Finding ‘Inducement’

14 05 2010

Coverage here.

Decision Limewire

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