CNET Facing Hundreds of Millions In Piracy Infringement Penalties

No Comments 15 July 2012

CNET Facing Hundreds of Millions In Piracy Infringement Penalties

What’s wrong with reviewing and deep-linking to thousands upon thousands of potentially infringing applications?  According to a just-issued decision by federal judge Dale S. Fischer, a number of editorial policies by CBS-owned C|Net could generate liabilities in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Our evidence will show that not only do they have vicarious liability, but C|Net actually embedded links from their web pages to thousands of known copyrighted songs,” plaintiff David Alki of declared, on behalf of a coalition of artists.

Specifically, Fischer allowed the Alki-led suit to proceed, specifically on charges of copyright inducement at  That Supreme Court precedent, established back in 2005, holds that companies can be held liable for infringement if they knowingly encourage and profit from illegal applications.  In the case of Grokster vs. MGM, that involved goading customers to download all sorts of copyrighted material while banking on the traffic, regardless of non-infringing uses.

Fast-forward to 2012, and C|Net - and by default, CBS - now seem to fit that test.  For example, reviewers routinely published detailed reviews of applications that have been proven illegal by the courts.  And, along the way, they’ve taken screenshots of illegal usage, while profiting from the adviews and traffic. 

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