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Monday, February 04, 2013

Musicians against CNET

A lawsuit involving Alki David plus a number of R&B and hip-hop musicians and CNET was started last November. The battle was headed by Alki David and involved a handful of musicians who sued CBSI’s subsidiary CNET for encouraging piracy by offering advice on how to use file-sharing platforms. Last July, a federal judge confirmed that CNET’s actions should be scrutinized. Finally, last November the artists asked for a preliminary injunction.
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In response, CBS Interactive filed a 25-page memorandum a week ago, claiming that any suggestion that reports on the distribution of legitimate music via the BitTorrent protocol evidences intent to encourage infringement is just absurd. They point out that the injunction plaintiffs seek would substantially damage their business of providing a comprehensive index of software applications and editorial information about them.

The most interesting thing is that the injunction wouldn’t prevent either downloads of BitTorrent client software, or potential infringement of plaintiffs’ content. Even if CBSI were enjoined from linking to services providing downloads of BitTorrent applications, those would still remain available to Internet users and would still be easily found by a simple Google search – albeit without the warning against violation that CBSI provides.

In addition, the public interest would be damaged by denying legal and truthful data about a pervasive technology and by impending non-infringing uses.

The memorandum also stressed the fact that the plaintiffs didn’t prove not only the ownership of works, but also the irreversible damage done by CNET. The company also insists that “vague and broad requests for injunctive relief aimed targeting speech or the press raise serious First Amendment issues”.

CNET explained that it wasn’t planning to give any validation to a product which CBS is considering illegal, other networks considered illegal and one court has already found to violate the copyright act in its application. Except for that, CNET will cover every other product and service, or that’s what the company’s representative said when talking about the company’s decision to prohibit CNET from publishing reviews about such technologies as Dish Network-owned AutoHopper and Aereo’s TV streaming device.

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