Lawsuit Saying Scribd's Copyright-Protection Filters Infringe On Copyrights Has Been Dumped
from the good-work dept
Last year, we wrote about the somewhat bizarre class action lawsuit filed against Scribd for copyright infringement. It was bizarre on multiple levels. First, the lawyers filing the lawsuit against Scribd were the same lawyers, Joe Sibley and Kiwi Camara, who had famously defended Jammie Thomas against copyright infringement claims. It seemed odd for them to flip to the other side. But, their actual case was even more ridiculous. It made blatantly false claims, such as that Scribd (and other “West Coast technology” firms”) believed that “commercial copyright infringement is not illegal.” Uh, yeah. But then it got even more bizarre. Despite claiming that Scribd didn’t care about copyright infringement, the crux of the case was that its copyright filters infringed. Yes, part of the claim was that because Scribd uses a copy of the text within its filters, it’s that copy that’s illegal. Got that straight? The company is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they don’t filter, they’re blamed for ignoring infringement. If they do filter, they’re accused of infringing copyrights with the filter.
Either way, that case has now been dropped, officially due to a “settlement.” However, the details provided suggest this was no real settlement. Scribd, in a statement, notes that Camara and Sibley not only failed to meet the basic deadlines related to the lawsuit, but they effectively walked away from this case:
Our lawyer, Brian Mendonca at Wilson Sonsini stated, “The fact that Scott walked away from this case without getting a dime proves that the DMCA offers real protection to sites like Scribd.”
Of course, this isn’t the only lawsuit against Scribd. And, it looks like in a different case, Williams v. Scribd, a judge is letting that case move forward. As Eric Goldman notes in the link, the company apparently “ran into a judge who appears to be a stickler about letting unmeritorious cases survive to summary judgment” rather than dismissing them outright. It sounds like the judge may be willing to grant summary judgment in favor of Scribd, but didn’t want to dismiss that case outright. And so, we have to wait before getting another ruling showing that the DMCA protects third parties from liability if they respond to DMCA complaints.