This is a publication by The Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, which explains and discusses the two theories of indirect copyright infringement liability: Contributory infringement and Vicarious infringement at the same time offering an economic perspective. Contributory infringement is when a company that produces a product or service is liable for indirect infringement as a result of a third party user committing infringement by using the product or service. Vicarious infringement has to do with an employee committing infringement and the employer is then liable for that infringement because he had "knowledge" of that infringement. Throughout the article, the authors make use of two examples illustrating two extremes: a flea market example, in which a property owner provides a service to individual sellers, and some of these seller sell copyrighted material; and a photocopier example, in which the use of the copier can have both infringing uses and legitimate ones. The article also discusses several important issues surrounding these two theories, such as the Sony v. Universal case, the napster case, and the DMCA law. It provides analysis on why the court rejected Napster's claim that it was "only a service like the VCR." Essentially, the artical says that Napster could have prevented the copyright infringement without harming the legitimate uses. Ultimately the article makes the conclusion that "every mechanism for rewarding authors inevitably introduces some form of inefficiency, and thus the only way to determine the proper scope for indirect liability is to weigh its costs and benefits against the costs and benefits associated with other plausible mechanisms for rewarding authors."
This is a very valuable source for my research paper for a number of reasons. Many site operators such as Gary Fung (owner of www.IsoHunt.com), claim that they are only providing a "service" like the "sony VCR". The article provides valuable analysis of the napster case, specifically that the court said that even though napster provided a "service" if it had "knowledge" and "could effectively prevent" copyright infringement it is liable for indirect infringement. I plan to utilize this point in favor of my argument that government, specifically the judicial branch, can shut down sites like isoHunt if it proves them to be indirectly liable for copyright infringement. The artical is also important for my research paper because it raises issues such as that "the costs in terms of unavoidable interference with legitimate products might be too high, and society would therefore be better off forcing copyright holders to rely on other mechanisms."
This is essentially the plaintiffs' (Columbia Pictures' et. al.) memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Summary Judgement on Liability. Essentially it captures the main arguments of the plaintiffs in Columbia Pictures v. Gary Fung (IsoHunt), a recent development in the bittorrent context. Essentially the plaintiffs claim that the whole purpose of the "Fung websites" is to facilitate and provide users with the ability to search for ".torrent" files which link to trackers hosted on various computers and servers that contain actual content files like movies, etc. Also, plaintiffs maintain that "torrent" files in themselves have no purpose but to link to actual content files. The plaintiffs say that there had been done an "unrebutted" statistical study which showed that "95%" of all the torrents on the "other fung sites", which work hand-in-hand with the main IsoHunt site, are links to copyrighted material. Also important, is the plaintiffs counter to the defendant's (Gary Fung) claim that the Grokster case doesn't apply because unlike in the Groster case IsoHunt does not distribute any product. The plaintiffs' argument is that this claim is invalid because the Grokster case had nothing to do with it being a product as opposed to a service, but rather the fact that the Grokster "induced and promoted" active infringement which thus made Grokster liable for contributory infringement.
This document is crucial to my research paper. It is the only recent legal document, and at the same time a primary source, directly related to my research thesis of whether government can/should shut down sites like www.IsoHunt.com. I plan to use virtually all of the arguments presented by the plaintiffs in my research paper. By weighing these arguments with various other sources (copyright law, DMCA, Grokster case, Fung's Affidavit) I'll be able to reach some kind of a conclusion in regards to my thesis.
tagged bittorrent columbia_pictures_v_fung copyright_culture copyright_infringement engl_105 filesharing gary_fung grokster indirect_liability_copyright_infringement internet_service_providers isohunt napster p2p piracy search_engines by pmekler ...on 24-NOV-08