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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