Safe Harbor Case Mired In Confusion

from the competing-rulings dept

The latest legal ruling on the DMCA apparently contradicts an earlier ruling, meaning that we’re going to have to wait until a higher court compares and contrasts for us. The issue is about whether or not online service providers have a “safe harbor” when people post materials online that they don’t own the copyright to. In this case, the producer of a movie sued (among othes) for letting people sell illegal copies of his movie online. In the past, he had sued eBay for the same thing – but eBay won that case. This time, the judge ruled (with no details at all) that Amazon is liable, even though they’re just the marketplace. The guy who brought the suit claims that once he’s informed Amazon of infringements, they’re now responsible for making sure it stops. eBay won their version of the case by having a “Verified Rights Owner” program that the guy refused to join – suggesting they had a process and made an effort. Amazon, apparently, had no such program. Of course, shifting the entire burden to an Amazon based on a single report of infringement seems a bit extreme as well.

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