• Ad Networks Could Become Liable for Infringement If Collaborating with Filesharing Websites

    It seems that the copyright infringement issue picks up a new facet every day. Reportedly, in the future advertising networks could be accused of contributing to copyright infringement on websites if they facilitate that infringement (by financially aiding filesharing websites).

    The new perspective came out of a case involving a textbook publisher, Elsevier and the ad network Chitika, the latter being sued for “contributory infringement” of the former’s copyrights by showing ads on a website where users can download Elsevier’s books for free.

    The district court judge in Massachusetts ruling the case while saying that Chitika was not liable (because Elsevier had not brought “plausible facts”” to support its claim that Chitika “must have had knowledge of the alleged infringement of [Elsevier's] books”) suggested that in other cases ad networks could risk indeed being held liable for copyright infringement if they offer an “essential” service through which website administrators are helped to sustain infringement acts on a “massive scale”.

    According to the judge, under the established law one can be considered a contributory infringer if it is proven that one has had knowledge that infringement was taking place (on the website it collaborated with for advertising) and if it has materially contributed in that infringement.

    Also under controversial draft US legislation currently pending, payment providers and ad networks could both be forced to end their partnerships with websites found guilty of infringement by a court.