Google Finally Gets Involved In Torrent Search Engine Lawsuit... But Just To Reject 'Red Flag' DMCA Violations

from the but-of-course dept

TorrentFreak is noting that Google has, perhaps for the first time, waded into any of the lawsuits concerning torrent search engines, filing an amicus brief in the ongoing IsoHunt appeal. In the past, other torrent search engines have been somewhat upset that Google has stayed quiet, noting that many of the arguments used against them could equally apply to Google. Google, of course, has stayed away because it goes to great lengths these days to avoid any appearance of "supporting piracy."

While TorrentFreak (and IsoHunt) seems surprised or disappointed by Google's actual amicus brief in the IsoHunt case, it's really not surprising. Google's participation here is entirely about the YouTube/Viacom lawsuit and appeal. What was really notable about the original IsoHunt ruling, was that it was the only real legal ruling that said that you could violate the DMCA even in absence of takedown notices. That is, it highlighted the idea of "red flag" awareness of infringement. This was the key issue in the YouTube/Viacom lawsuit. Google argues that as long as YouTube took down any content it received a takedown notice on, it was in compliance and protected by safe harbors. Viacom leaned heavily on the IsoHunt ruling, to claim that the DMCA doesn't just cover takedown notice responses, but also requires a response to "red flag" infringement.

However, Google knows that the IsoHunt ruling is basically the only legal precedent out there that reads the DMCA in this manner. So, from Google's perspective, dumping that reasoning is key. So its amicus brief still argues that IsoHunt is guilty of contributory infringement, a la the Grokster standard, but not because of red flag infringement. So, I don't find it that "unexpected" that Google got involved, or filed the brief that it did. It's focused entirely on its own lawsuit here, and hoping that the appeals court will take away the one serious case that Viacom has in its pocket for the YouTube appeal.

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, red flags, torrents
Companies: google, isohunt, mpaa, viacom, youtube

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  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 23 Feb 2011 @ 12:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are correct. You did admit that Thomas-Rasset and Tenebaum were infringers. Considering that Tenenbaum ADMITTED it, that's not so telling.

    No, I argued that before both admitted it -- back when both denied it, but the evidence was too strong.

    That's my problem here. I feel you are ignoring the VAST amount of EVIDENCE that proves he is liable.

    We've discussed this. I disagree that the evidence really makes him liable. We disagree. That doesn't make me dishonest.

    And if it's so obvious that Fung is not an infringer, wouldn't it make more sense for Google to argue that and to try to get the case reversed? Why would they fight to affirm a case when dismissing it would help them out so much more?

    Because, obviously, Google has its own interests at stake -- and keeping others out of the search engine market is one such interest. Secondly, it wants to curry favor with the entertainment industry, and clearly bashing a site like IsoHunt is an easy target.

    Surely Google's bevy of lawyers could have argued for Fung's innocence, since it seems so obvious, to you anyway. But they didn't. They argued about how obvious his liability was.

    Yes, because it helps Google.

    Why's it not obvious to you? If you want to run us through all the reasons why Fung did no wrong, I'm sure we'd all like to see it.

    I have done this before. In great detail.

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