Entertainment Industry Embraces New Business Model: Suing Google For Third-Party Android Apps That 'Promote Piracy'

from the piracy:-keeping-lawyers-employed-since-1999 dept

Who says the entertainment industry can't embrace new business models? From their ham-fisted attempts to make digital movie distribution less convenient than driving to the store and purchasing a DVD to their recent "collateral revamping" of various cloud services, the entertainment industry has never been more flexible.

Plagiarism Today points us to the bold new direction the entertainment industry will be heading in the future. More specifically, a bold new direction the entertainment industry's lawyers will be headed.
[A]t a charity luncheon for the Entertainment Law Initiative, which was raising money for the Grammy Foundation, there was a thunderous applause from the audience, mostly comprised of attorneys, over a paper regarding Android applications the promote piracy wondering why no lawsuits had been filed against Google for secondary liability. Though most of the other papers admitted only received scattered applause, that one seemed to whip the crowd into a frenzy, indicating the possibility that industry lawyers are considering such a tactic in the near future.
It's not an entirely new direction. Google is still the entertainment industry's favorite punching bag. But, hey, billable hours! New billable hours! Surely that's reason for a standing ovation! And a platform switch! Exciting!

A few more details emerged at the Wall Street Journal:
[T]he room went nuts during videotaped remarks by Ryanne E. Perio, a student at Columbia Law School, who wrote about Android smartphone apps that facilitate piracy.

During remarks describing her paper, Perio wondered aloud why offering those apps hadn't generated lawsuits against Android parent Google, for "secondary copyright infringement" - i.e. facilitating piracy.

There seems to be no link to Perio's actual paper, entitled, "Policing The Android Market: Why The Expanding DMCA May Harbor Google From Liability For Illegal File-Sharing Apps Available On Android," so it's unclear whether Perio is referencing the official Android app store or simply broadbrushing (+4 troll points) Google as co-conspirators on any piece of software compatible with the Android platform.

If it's the App Store angle, it's a bit like claiming Walmart is responsible for secondary infringement because they sell copies of Nero (not to mention computers, blank discs, cable modems and other tools of the pirate trade). If it's just because it's Google's platform, then it's about as meritous as suing Microsoft because Limewire Frostwire runs on Windows.

Of course, a lack of merit has never stopped a lawsuit. And it certainly has never stopped lawyers from racking up expensive hours constructing a variety of legal Spruce Gooses. Sadder still, it has never stopped a court from rendering a ridiculous decision in favor of the even more ridiculous plaintiffs.

Filed Under: android, apps, secondary liability
Companies: google


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2012 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re:

    I think if the flea market owner has notice and fails to act, theres a liability. If Ebay gets notice, I'm sure they'd look in to it- if for nothing else a TOS violation. Makers of Saturday Night Specials (cheap handguns associated with crime) were successfully sued decades ago.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.