Ad Firm Pays Up To Studios, Promises Not To Work With 'Pirate' Sites Any More
from the what's-the-legal-basis dept
Earlier this year, we wrote about a lawsuit filed by Disney and Warner Bros. against Triton Media, an ad firm that apparently helped place ads on sites that linked to infringing content (hosted elsewhere). We noted that the lawsuit seemed like a huge reach for a variety of reasons. Nothing in the complaint seemed to indicate that what Triton had done had violated copyright law. Instead, it focused on the various sites for which it provided ads. And, even those sites seemed like a stretch on claims of copyright infringement. The sites didn’t host any infringing content. They just allowed people to post links to content (authorized or not) that was hosted elsewhere. To go after the ad provider for a few of those sites, claiming some fourth or fifth party form of contributory infringement seemed pretty crazy.
However, THREsq is now reporting that Triton has settled the lawsuit, paying $400,000 and agreeing not to provide ad services to those sites or to similar sites. THREsq claims the studios “won” the case, but a settlement does not mean a win. It just means Triton realized it was cheaper to settle than to fight two of the biggest studios with deep pockets.
Of course, Triton is a side show. The real question is if anyone will go after Google for something like this. There’s been an increase in bitching from copyright holders lately that Google ads appear on various sites, and that Google “profits from piracy.” Of course, that’s not an accurate statement at all, but it’s grown in popularity among some lately. The fact that Triton settled may seem like good news for the studios, but without an actual court ruling on such a tortured fourth party liability claim, it seems like they’re still a long way from being able to confidently bring such claims. The settlement news may be useful in scaring some other smaller advertising firms, but I’d be surprised if the studios jumped all the way to accusing Google right now. Google, I would assume, would push back hard, and has the legal resources to do so.