Technology and Business Law Blog

Pirate Bay Wins the First Round

I have been reading about the Pirate Bay court trial in Sweden, after all these years of hype and the public looking forward to a long legal battle, the trial has turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax right at the second day. The plaintiffs consisting of  the entertainment industry conglomerate, had accused Pirate Bay of assisting copyright infringement. To assist in infringement the defendant had to help distribute illegal files and the plaintiffs were not able to prove that, and as per the Capitol v. Thomas case heard in the U.S, making available cannot amount to distribution of copyrighted material.

Pirate Bay lawyer has held on to the old argument that  “To supply a service that can be used illegally or legally is not illegal.” Pirate Bay does not host any of the copyrighted material themselves but makes available file sharing BitTorrent technology to search and download files. BitTorrent technology though used for peer to peer file sharing can also be used for other non-infringing uses.

The prosecution  dropped charges relating to “assisting copyright infringement”, and focused on “assisting making available copyrighted content”, stating that “everything related to reproduction will be removed from the claim”. The reason for this was that the prosecution was not able  to prove that illegally distributed files had used the Pirate Bay site.

This is a real set back for the entertainment and software industry but a victory for people who believe in creativity and progress. Just as I have stated before, copyright is losing its grip and with the avalanche of new technology, copyright infringement issues will lose its meaning. Copyright infringement has happened from pre-historic times, when man started drawing figures on cave walls and will continue till the human race exists.

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Copyright and innovation, Copyright Infringement, p2p | | Leave a comment

Copyright Infringement Law Suit against Google in Belgium Courts

Copyright infringement claims by the Belgian newspaper association Copiepresse and Google has been ongoing from 2006. Tracing the history, in 2006 Google settled with Belgian photographers and journalists in a copyright dispute over Google linking to Belgian newspaper articles for free (read here) but in February 2007 the court ruled for the Belgian consortium Copiepresse and held that Google violated Belgium’s copyright law when it linked and published portions of articles from Belgian newspapers on its news site without permission and the court ordered Google to remove the material and pay $32,500 a day (read here) which Google did not comply with and Google in turn appealed against the Belgian court’s ruling (read here) and in now Google has been summoned before a Brussels court in September for Copiepresse states that due to copyright infringement it has suffered around $77.5 million in damages and it would be interesting to see what the appellate court holds ( read here).

In my opinion if the case had been litigated in the U.S. the courts would not have imposed such severe peanlities on Google and probably even not held Google for copyright infringement, based on the ruling in the Perfect 10 case where linking to thumb nail pictures were not held to be a copyright infringement.

May 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment