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


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  1. icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 23 Feb 2012 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: an industry is not a model.

    First things first: I wrote this. My name is right up there in the byline, darryl. I get to call you darryl and you can call me Tim. It's clearly posted and most regular commenters know where to find the name of the author, often before they comment.

    If you want to argue about the most minute aspects of the "entertainment industry" in order to avoid talking about the actual post, you'll need to find someone else to entertain you.

    When a room full of lawyers for the "entertainment industry" applauds the idea of suing Google for secondary liability because various apps "facilitate piracy," it's highly unlikely that these lawyers are representing the interests of gas stations, restaurants and rollerskating rinks. (Of course, some of these "entertainment" lawyers may do work for ASCAP, BMI, etc., in which case they might perk up their ears at the mention of restaurants and rollerskating rinks, but generally speaking, this isn't what we're dealing with here.)

    Yes, money spent on entertainment encompasses a whole variety of options, including in-room porn and filling the tank with gas and buying water balloons to drop from the overpass. But a roomful of entertainment lawyers at a Grammy-related event has nothing to do with those other "entertainments" mentioned. You're simply avoiding the real issue by attempting to attack my presumed lack of knowledge about economics.

    This article has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with entertainment lawyers applauding a new way to sue Google. Your comment has next to nothing to do with this post other than the use of the words "entertainment" and "industry."

    Therefore there is really little point in engaging with you in a discussion of this matter, as for that to occur, you would need at the least to address the article itself, which you clearly would rather not...

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