Labels v. LimeWire

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Major record labels filed a law suit in the Southern District of NY against P2P file sharing company LimeWire: Arista Records LLC v. LimeWire LLC, 06-CV-5936.

"he very design and promotion of LimeWire show that Defendants know (actually as well as constructively) of the massive infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights occurring via LimeWire. Defendants' knowledge and intent are apparant in other respects as well. For example, Defendants make it easy for a user to donload and install LimeWire even after indicating that he/she 'intend[s] to use LimeWire for copyright infringement.' Following a perfunctory refusal by Defendant's web site, the user simply navigates back to the prior page, changes his/her answer, and is allowed to continue with the download.

The complaint establishes 5 theories of liability:

  1. Inducement of Copyright Infringement
    Defendants have induced and continue to induce infringement by, for example, aiming to satisfy a known source of demand for copyright infringement, including the market comprising users of other infringing services that were shut down or compelled to block access to Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works, such as Napster, Grokster, and Kazaa.

  2. Contributory Copyright Infringement
    Defendants are liable as contributory infringers for the copyright infringement committed via LimeWire software and services. Defendants have knowledge of the massive infringement that has occurred and continues to occur through LimeWire, and Defendants have caused, enabled, facilitated, and materially contributed to that infringement.

  3. Vicarious Copyright Infringement
  4. Defendants are liable as vicarious infringers for the copyright infringement committed via LimeWire software and services. At all times relevant to this action, Defendants (i) have had the right and ability to control and/or supervise the infringing conduct of LimeWire users, and (ii) have had a direct financial interest in, and derived substantial financial benefit from, the infringements of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted sound recordings via LimeWire.

  5. Common Law Copyright Infringement of Pre-1972 Recordings

  6. Unfair Competition as to Pre-1972 Recordings

William Patry, The Patry Copyright Blog: RIAA v. LimeWire:

We are in a new era and this complaint reflects that era.

I happen to think the new era sucks, but it is here and we had best come to grips with it. The LimeWire case is likely to provide the inducement for that waking up. Aside from what I regard as the Supreme Court's insitutional irresponsibility, my objection to the Grokster opinion (which is not a defense of Grokster the company), is that it only added to the conceptual morass begun with Sony by creating a new, third category of third-party liability, and without any perceived need for it by the parties, Congress, or anyone else. It was, I believe, merely a way to paper over the court's inability to do the job it took upon itself: determine how to apply Sony to the Internet. When the Court shirked that responsbility, it apparently felt it too had to something to show it was tough on pirates (you're not alone Mr. Attorney General!), hence the inducement theory.

1 Comment

I think that I should have the choice to download music for free off Lime Wire and not have to pay a corporation ridiculis pricess for a CD.

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