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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ad Networks Will Be Liable For Copyright Infringement

It looks like the copyright violation problem starts picking up a new facet every other day. According to recent media reports, soon advertising networks will be accused of contributing to copyright violation online in case they facilitate that violation through financially aiding file-sharing online services.
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This new perspective is derived from the case mentioning a textbook publisher Elsevier and the advertising network called Chitika. Chitika is currently being sued for contributory violation of the Elveiser’s copyrights by displaying advertisements on a site where Internet users are able to download publisher’s books without charge.

The district court judge in Massachusetts has handed down the decision on the case saying that the ad network wasn’t responsible for copyright infringement, because the plaintiffs hadn’t brought any plausible facts to support the accusation that the network must have had knowledge of the suspected violation of Elsevier's copyrights. However, the decision suggested that in some other cases advertising networks could risk to be held responsible for copyright violation in case they offer some “essential” service via which site admins are helped to sustain violation acts on a massive scale.

The judge explained that under the established legislation the company can be regarded as a contributory violator if it’s proven that the company in question has had knowledge that copyright violation was taking place on the online services it collaborated with for advertising and if it also has materially contributed in that violation. He added that under the draft of American law, other intermediaries like payment providers can also be forced to end their partnerships with file-sharing sites.

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