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Setback for CBS, CNET in LimeWire Copyright Infringement Case

Posted by: , 13:10 AEST, Wed July 18, 2012

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David Alki and his coalition of artists say they've had a "huge win" against CBS owned CNET, in a case relating to the distribution of music sharing software LimeWire
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Image/Photo Credit: Sam Howzit @ Flickr, CC

A major victory has been scored for FilmOn founder David Alki's in his lawsuit against CNET, and its parent CBS. Alki accused tech giant CNET of copyright infringement in a highly controversial case relating to file sharing software LimeWire.

Alki's motives for suing has always confounded commentators. Alki's own FilmOn website was sued by a coalition of content owners, including CBS, for copyright infringement and many believe revenge is a motive. But more like is Alki's intent of pointing out the hypocrisy that exists amongst some content owners, many of whom, when it's in their own interest, overlook intellectual property theft be it promoting the download of software like LimeWire, or stealing ideas and concepts from others. As for CBS, Alki is already on record for calling them "hypocritical" and "thieving liars". 

Having re-launched his lawsuit back in November of last years after an earlier suit was dismissed voluntarily, Alki formed a new coalition of artists who say they've been wronged by CNET's alleged promotion of the LimeWire music sharing software. LimeWire lost its own copyright infringement lawsuit against the music industry, who claimed that LimeWire may be contributed as much as $75 Trillion in damages (more than the entire GDP of the world combined).

Lawyers for CBS/CNET filed a motion to have all claims dismissed, and federal Judge Dale Fischer was accommodating on two of the claims, with both "vicarious" and "contributory" copyright infringement ruled not relevant in this case. But on the third claim, that of "inducement", Judge Fischer will allow the case to go forward as she feels that for the claim, it is "not a particularly close or challenging case for inducement based on the facts alleged," citing that CNET took the "unusual and ill-advised steps of distributing" LimeWire.

"This is a huge win for us," was David's response to the decision. "Our evidence will show that not only do they have vicarious liability but CNET actually embedded links from their web pages to thousands of known copyrighted songs. That puts a giant 'I' on inducement," David added.

"The focus of the case now shifts from the question of liability to the question of damages for our many plaintiffs," explained Jaime Marquart, the attorney representing the artists in the case.

CBS/CNET chose to focus on the positives, that two thirds of the case has been dismissed. "It is a very good sign that at the very earliest stage of this proceeding, the judge has fully and completely granted our motion to dismiss two of Mr. David's three claims. We will continue vigorously defending the third claim and are fully confident we will prevail on that count as well," a statement from CBS Interactive read.

The case continues in court.


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