Silly Lawsuit Filed Against CBS Because Subsidiary CNET Offered Limewire For Download
from the fourth-party-liability? dept
Late last year, a guy named Alki David, who's known for his publicity stunts, put out a silly video attacking CBS, who was suing a company he ran. The video is long, and not very entertaining, other than demonstrating David's ego. The theory posited by David is so bizarre that we didn't post about the video when it came out. Basically, CBS had sued his company, FilmOn, which let people pay to access his retransmission of TV channels online. It's pretty easy to see why CBS and others believe that a service like FilmOn is infringing. However, David's theory was so out there that it was laughable: he claims CBS is suing him because CBS profits from piracy and doesn't want others getting into the game and competing. No, really. You can see the video here:
The logical trainwreck comes from the fact that CBS bought CNET a few years ago, and among CNET's properties is Download.com, which is probably the single most popular place for companies to offer up their software products for download. It's been that way for years. One of the many, many, many software products available to download from Download.com was Limewire, which (as you know) was recently found guilty of facilitating copyright infringement. David's argument is that CBS makes a ton of money from this setup. It doesn't. CBS may make a little bit of money from this, but it's not even a rounding error on CBS's bottom line. This is so far removed from CBS's business it's hard to do more than laugh at the accusations.
However, David has now taken it to another level, and together with some hip hop and R&B artists, is suing CBS for copyright infringement over this same issue. It seems pretty clear that this is a nuisance suit from David, who is upset about the lawsuits against his company -- which seem to have a lot stronger basis in law. I can't see how CBS has liability here. We're not even talking about standard third party liability here. CBS is a fourth or fifth party here, at best. The actual infringement comes from end users. Limewire is the tool they use. CBS's CNET's Download.com is the tool that Limewire uses. To blame CBS for that is a huge stretch. Also, unless I'm missing it, nowhere in the lawsuit filing embedded below do I see what specific copyrights of the plaintiffs CBS is accused of infringing upon...