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CBS and CNET Liable For ALL BitTorrent Piracy, Artists Tell Court


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In their ongoing legal battle against CBS and CNET, a coalition of
artists has reiterated their request for a distribution ban on
file-sharing software. The artists, joined by billionaire and FilmOn
founder Alki David, accuse the media conglomerate of promoting piracy
through websites like Download.com and state in their latest filing that
CBS and CNET can be held liable for all BitTorrent piracy.



In 2011, Alki David, the billionaire behind the FilmOn video service, declared war on CNET and its owner CBS.



The artists claim that CNET profits heavily from distributing
file-sharing software via Download.com, while demonstrating in editorial
reviews how these applications can be used to download
copyright-infringing material. In the original complaint the artists
pointed out several examples where CNET editors posted videos and
screenshots of infringing materials.



After a judge ruled last summer that inducement of copyright
infringement could indeed be considered due to Download.com also
distributing the software they reviewed, the artists moved forward. Last
November they asked the court to issue a sweeping injunction, one that
would ban all BitTorrent client downloads from the popular software
download portal Download.com.



Last month CBS and CNET responded to the proposed preliminary
injunction, asking the court to deny the plaintiff’s request. The
companies used a wide variety of arguments to back up their motion, and
noted that the artists can’t prove that software distributed by
Download.com can be traced back to specific infringements.



However, in a new filing the artists wave these arguments away. The
plaintiffs argue that direct infringement doesn’t have to be proven
according to the established file-sharing doctrine including the
Grokster and LimeWire cases.



“Because CBSI distributed several torrent software programs and
encouraged infringement on torrent networks, CBSI is liable for all
infringement on the torrent network,” the plaintiffs write.



“The fact that other entities such as the torrent publisher or a torrent
website like the Pirate Bay might be jointly and severally liable for
this infringement does not affect CBSI’s inducement.”



The artists further contend CBS and CNET’s argument that BitTorrent is
also used to distribute legal content. They note that the legal use of
BitTorrent is irrelevant and are confident that they can prove that CBS
and CNET intended to induce infringement.



Among other things, the artists point to a video tutorial where CNET
editors show how Nine Inch Nail’s complete discography can be
downloaded.



“The video demonstrates how to use uTorrent to find a torrent file
capable of downloading all of Nine Inch Nails musical catalog in one
fell swoop. Significant portions of Nine Inch Nails discography, of
course, are protected by copyright,” they write.



The artists further refute the argument that the creators of the
software are ultimately responsible for potential infringements.



“CBSI does not deny having commercial relationships with peer-to-peer
software publishers or profiting in some way from its distribution of
P2P software. CBSI’s suggestion that only the creator of P2P software is
liable for inducement completely ignores Grokster.”



“Following CBSI’s logic, a third-party entity like CBSI could freely
promote copyright infringement while avoiding all liability simply
because its users linked to another website to obtain the software. That
is not the law,” the filing reads.



A loss for CBS and CNET doesn’t automatically mean that file-sharing may
be help liable for infringements. Alki David told TorrentFreak
previously that software makers have little to fear as long as they
don’t promote copyright infringement.



“I do NOT think that torrent makers should be held liable. They can
distribute but not promote the illegal use of their software. Herein
lies the problem. You cannot sell guns and tell people the best way to
use them to kill people,” David told us.



Having heard both sides of the argument, the District Court now has to
decide whether or not CNET will be banned from distributing BitTorrent
software and other file-sharing clients.

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