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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  • icon
    Blatant Coward (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    Two flailing businesses that flail great together!

    Cue plaintative cry of "There are ads on the internet? LOL I use (insert browser or ad stopper here) and never see them!" in 3...2...

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

  • identicon
    porkster, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    So what!

    Don't lawyers in all these copyright cases "profit from piracy"?

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

  • icon
    Overcast (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 4:12pm

    The 'concept' of the 'web' is linking between sites. I guarantee, that I could find a 'link route' on any of these copyright holders' sites that go to 'infringing content'.

    For instance; go to:

    Top right corner - there are links to YouTube, Facebook, etc - which certainly then link to Google. So you could start on Sony's site and get to 'pirated' stuff...

    RIAA's site:

    Even on the 'legal music links' page, there are links to YouTube, Yahoo, etc - all of which in turn, at some point - link to potentially infringing content.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:05pm

    When I started using Morpheus way back when, France's biggest ISP had banner ads on it...

    (It was Wanadoo, now re-branded as Orange)

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

  • icon
    Ralph-J (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 3:41am

    Users on those sites are potential legal customers!

    They are always looking to convert illegal downloaders to legitimate customers, but when there's a genuine opportunity, they throw out the baby with the bath water.

    What they fail to see, is that people visiting those sites are really interested in their products, and might easily "convert" to legal customers, if tempted in the right way (e.g. with great prices, or extras that don't come with the illegal downloads). Those are business opportunities!

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

    • icon
      Hephaestus (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 7:21am

      Re: Users on those sites are potential legal customers!

      "if tempted in the right way (e.g. with great prices, or extras that don't come with the illegal downloads). Those are business opportunities!"

      Now for some simple statistics ...

      The 14 to 25 year old crowd basically doesn't buy content. They are totally lost to the record labels and the movie studios. In france they are attempting to retrain this group with half price downloads.

      The infringement rate in the internet connected 14 to 25 year old range is above 80% and rising.

      In other countries where this has happened, infringement has in a matter of years moved up the age ranges to the adult crowd. (Spain, South Korea, etc) Its a curve that fills in from young to old.

      In all disruptive technologies in the past the same distribution curves have occured over time.

      Competition for peoples limited time from other sources, newbies in the same business, gaming, blogging (hint you are reading this), commenting on blogs (I wrote this), social networking, texting, e-mail, etc and the labels and studios are fraked. Their piece of the pie gets smaller every day. The business opportunities for middle men are shrinking rapidly and will continue to.

      Feel free to be as optimistic as you like. It wont change the outcome. If it will help, I will send you some rose colored glasses ...

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

  • icon
    Fortcast (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:44pm

    So the basically corrupt law of the US strikes again: The richest person wins because they are the richest.
    But when the populace keeps voting against their own interests because they all think they are going to get rich one day, then its hardly surprising.

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

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