September 18, 2020

Will the RIAA Sue Google?

Recently, the RIAA sued four college students for alleged copyright violations, including contributory infringement. The contributory infringement claims are based on assertions that the students ran search engines that can be used to find infringing files.

Jacques Distler asks this question: When will they sue Google? Certain parts of the RIAA’s complaint against the students could be reused with little or no modification in a suit against Google. For example, here is part of their compliant against Daniel Peng:

Defendant has installed, operates, and maintains a computer server that provides indexing and search processing functions for users of that LAN. Defendant’s server actively scours the network for files that others have designated for copying and distribution, and indexes the names of those files even without the knowledge or acquiescence of network users who have so designated those files, and without the consent of the copyright owners of the works embodied in those files. Defendant’s server intentories the music files each user has disgnated for copying and distribution, maintains a centralized index of the names of those music files, and makes that index available to users of the LAN. In this manner, files that a user maintains on his or her hard drive are made available for copying and distribution by all users of the LAN regardless of the intention of the users who initially designated those files, and often without their knowledge.

Defendant further has established and maintains an Internet site containing a copyright notice that is accessible over the World Wide Web at the URL http://wake.princeton.edu. By accessing that web site, users of the LAN search for and locate sound recordings that Defendant has indexed for copying and distribution by typing in search terms into a search window provided by Defendant. Results of the search are then returned to the user. These results include the file names of the sound recordings that match the search term and the location on the LAN of users’ computers that are making those sound recordings available for copying and distribution over the LAN. A user need only click on a particular search result, and the file containing the sound recording is automatically downloaded – i.e., copied and saved – directly from the offering user’s computer to the hard drive of the requesting user’s computer.

Substitute “Internet” for “LAN”, and change the URL to www.google.com, and this whole description applies to Google.

Distler also provides an example of how someone might use Google to find copyrighted music.

Comments

  1. riaa vs. google?

    i’m so glad i found this article: Recently, the RIAA sued four college students for alleged copyright violations, including contributory…

  2. riaa vs. google?

    i’m so glad i found this article: Recently, the RIAA sued four college students for alleged copyright violations, including contributory infringement. The contributory infringement claims are based on assertions that the students ran search engines tha…