Google And Microsoft Sued For Linking, Indirectly, To Infringing Music

from the good-luck dept

Well, people have asked in the past how Google and Microsoft's search engines are really all that different from some of the file sharing search engines, and now we've finally got a lawsuit to at least explore some of that. It's not a major label, but a small indie blues label called Blues Destiny is suing Google and Microsoft along with RapidShare. At issue, of course, is that people are uploading Blues Destiny music to RapidShare, and searches via Google and Microsoft can find them. As Eric Goldman notes in the writeup linked above, the label isn't particularly clear in what it's upset about, so he believes the real issue isn't even that Google and Microsoft link people to RapidShare, but that it finds other sites that then link to RapidShare. That seems like many degrees removed from actually infringing -- and it's difficult to even see a clear claim for "inducing" infringement. Goldman also notes that the lawsuit is complicated by Blues Destiny's imprecision and vagueness in a series of (increasingly exasperated) takedown notices, which is coupled with Google not complying -- but potentially that is due to the failure of Blue Destiny to properly state what needed to be taken down. Either way, it's difficult to see how either Google or Microsoft is going to be found liable here, but the lawsuit is still worth watching, given the questions about where the fine line is drawn between just being a search engine and being a contributory infringer.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    While RapidShare will have the same problems as Youtube, they store the content on their servers, it's lucky that they got lumped together with Google and Microsoft. Both of them should be able to see how settling would be a vary, vary bad idea and they're big enough to fight hard. Rapidshare also has the same protections as Youtube, it's all user submitted content and they do remove content if there is a complaint.

    So it probably won't turn out like Blues Destiny thinks it will.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    This is ....

    This is just like Google >>== serving up links to ==>> the pirate bay >>== that leads you to ==>> the torrent >>== that leads you to ==>> the parts of the actual file you need to recreate it ....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    vyvyan, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    A blessing in disguise!

    Now M$ and Google have gotta lotta dough to fight it for as long as it takes. Probably this will set the right precedent that linking is not infringement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Re: A blessing in disguise!

    Doubtful. It will be dismissed against them, therefore no precedent will be set.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: A blessing in disguise!

    "It will be dismissed against them, therefore no precedent will be set."

    I agree, but it would be nice to have a ruling either way.

    Preferably what vyvyan said "that linking is not infringement" ... with that I will come back from the fantasy land I just found myself in ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Designerfx (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    same as the newspaper woman

    that woman who I spoke to the other day (See the update comment in that article about the legal threat from a news site or something) didn't get this either, so it's not at all surprising that a label doesn't get it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    sounds like the company has pebkac error with its takedown notices.

    "do this right now?"
    "do what?"
    "this thing i want you to do!"
    "what thing?"
    Z"don't you play stupid with me, you know what i'm talking about!"
    "no, we really don't"
    "fine, i'll sue you then."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Matt (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:09pm

    For Christmas, I want

    there to be less lawsuits like this in the world. Santa hasn't heard me for the last 20 years, though.

    One of the ways plaintiffs' counsel extort companies is by filing immensely vague complaints with no obvious theory or facts. Until recently, the standard in federal court (and still the standard in most state courts) is that the complaint need only state facts consistent with an actionable theory - so the fact that the complaint says little is not a problem, so long as what it does say is consistent. While the defense struggles to figure out what the @#$%@% the complaint is supposed to mean, it still has to spend money defending itself. Meanwhile, the plaintiff is getting discovery, groping around for any evidence of any wrongdoing. Whether or not it finds any, it is still cheaper to settle than to go to trial and risk a crazy verdict.

    The rule against this practice does not get enforced. Consequently, we see lawyers willing to file vague or even ludicrous lawsuits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    McBeese, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:20pm

    Rob banks instead

    Does this mean if I use a GPS to find the nearest Chase Bank to rob, and then use the supplied turn-by-turn directions to get to the bank, that the GPS device is 'inducing' bank robbery?

    If this metaphor isn't applicable or comparable, someone tell me why.

    Stupidity like this is what makes people want to screw these companies by any means possible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    in canada, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    linking to infringing content is not illegal

    the judge said effectively "it is the users choice to acquire the infringing material"

    in other words sue users

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Overcast (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

    From their web page...

    It links to Apple's page.

    From many of Apple's pages there are links to others - including Google's..

    They are therefore: linking to these same spots.

    Pot meet Kettle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Jesse, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

    Mr. Masnick, I think that you are guilty of copyright infringement, because you just let me know that I can find links to infringing content on Google.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    slander (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Maybe, just maybe

    They could be bringing this legal action about with the intent of losing it, and in such a way as to set a precedent that would effectively neuter the *AAs.

    Then again, I suppose I should take the red pill and wake up to reality ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Jay, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:29pm

    Just might happen

    Well here we go, huh? Microsoft has already backed down as of yesterday. If you do your homework on this one you might be attonished by who is behind is funny to listen to people who don't get it///

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Jay, Dec 14th, 2009 @ 11:02pm

    Re: A blessing in disguise!

    Looks to me like a label like Blues Destiney Records might have a couple of beach lawyers that don't get paid unless they produce. You can hold your breath awhile with that...did some research on the old judge up in Pensacola, he's 79 years old and appointed by Nixon! He might not understand the nuances of the stealing that goes on these days...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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