2024-06-17 02:03:14
RIAA triumphs in Usenet copyright case middlemen

Digital Media – CNET News

The Recording Industry Association of America has prevailed in its copyright fight against Usenet.com, according to court documents.

In a decision that hands the RIAA an overwhelming victory, U.S. District Judge Harold Baer ruled in favor of the music industry on all its main theories: that Usenet.com is guilty of direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement. In addition, and perhaps most important for future cases, Baer said that Usenet.com can’t claim protection under the Sony Betamax decision. That ruling says companies can’t be held liable of contributory infringement if the device is “capable of significant non-infringing uses.”

Baer noted that in citing the Betamax case, Usenet.com failed to see one important difference between it and Sony. Once Sony sold a Betamax, an early videotape recorder, the company’s relationship with the buyer ended. Sony held no sway over what the buyer did with the device after that. Usenet, however, maintains an ongoing relationship with the customer and does has some say in how the customer uses the service.

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