Movie Studios Sue Ad Companies for Pirate Sites
posted Sunday Aug 29, 2010 by Nicholas DiMeo
Movie studios are sick of websites that offer pirated material and have decided to open a new lawsuit targeting an ad company that provides their services to these sites. Warner Bros and Disney have joined forces to sue Triton Media, saying the company is responsible for contributory and induced copyright infringement because Triton helps keep these sites alive by supporting them with ad and referral income.
Warner and Disney are going after Triton for supporting nine websites they claim to be "one-stop-shop" sites for illegal copies of the studios' work. Some of the sites include free-tv-video-online.info, watch-movies-links.net and thepiratecity.org - basically, no-name sites. Essentially, the lawsuit claims that both parties have profited from the distribution of the pirated works and Triton made it possible by offering "material assistance" to the sites.
To see if anything may come out of this lawsuit, check after the break.
Much of the complaint focuses on the actions of the websites themselves, but the connection is obvious. The movie studios say that Triton should be held liable for copyright infringement because of its involvement with the sites - doubly so because Triton supposedly knew the alleged illegal activity thanks to notices sent by Warner and Disney.
The two movie studios have clearly decided that it's not enough to go after pirate sites for making a buck off of copyrighted works thanks to advertising. Now, they think the ad companies should be responsible, too, for not being careful about whom they do business with. Whether the studios will succeed in court, however, is another matter.
Company Perfect 10 tried something like this against credit card processors in 2004 and 2007 for giving out payment processes to companies that ripped off Perfect 10's images. The '04 case was thrown out and Perfect 10 lost in 2007 against CCBill and CWIE.
Warner and Disney better hope that their case will not have similar results. The fact is, usually third party companies cannot be held responsible for the content on a first party website, especially if those companies are advertisers. Now, if Triton profited specifically because of the pirated material, this case may hold a little water.
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