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back to article Google and MS sued over links to file-sharing site

Mini music label Blue Destiny Records has sued both Google and Microsoft for allegedly "facilitating and enabling" the illegal distribution of copyrighted songs. Filed on Monday with a US federal court in Northern Florida, the suit is an attempt to choke off the distribution of Blue Destiny tunes on the Germany-based file- …

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Silver badge

Well, if TPB went down...

... MS and Google should hit the dust too. Of course it's easier to smack 4 loonies than 2 multi-billion dollars globocorps so the courts might just bend over and declare the suit without merit, too-big-to-let-fail style.

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Err...

Number of torrent trackers run by Google & MS = 0

Number of torrent trackers (featuring copyrighted material) run by TPB=Gajillions

Now remind me why TPB is in court and Google/MS aren't up until now?

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Paris Hilton

Ouch? (?)

MS and the google acting as fences (UK term to describe action of one embarked professionally on directing and sustaining sales of stolen objects)?

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Alert

German company not conforming to US law?

Gosh, what a suprise. Do you think they can form their own laws, or should the US invade them?

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FAIL

No need to invade

They can buy them off and slip in people influential to the ruling who have a vested interest in a verdict against the defendant (TPB trial anyone?)

Understanding how the law works in big business fail.

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Bronze badge

Invade?

As far as I remember, there are still American and British troops occupying Germany since 1945. Still there today.

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Silver badge
Pirate

It was only a matter of time

What with everyone saying that if the likes of TPB and Mininova could get taken down for linking to links to infringing content, then Google should be, too.

This is where we'll see just how powerful the copypigs are stacked up against giants like Google and MS. Does copyright law now supersede all other considerations in modern society? Stay tuned...

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No...

TPB and Mininova wer torrent tracker hosts, providing links and search capabillity isn't what got them into trouble. Please try to understand how bit torrent works.

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unreasonable!!

I think blaming the hosting and search companies for their stuff being pirated is completely unreasonable.

Even if those companies know about it, that doesn't mean they approve -- if Rapidshare has illegal files on it, it's because there are SO many of them that they are difficult to find and remove; if Google and Bing put illegal stuff high in the search results it's because the users search for them so often (and a thing called net neutrality that Bing doesn't believe in apparently).

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Anonymous Coward

Blue Destiny? Roy Powers? Who?

Obviously "Google's consistent and prominent ranking of links to illegal 'free' downloads of [Blue Destiny's] copyrighted recordings has devastated" their marketing dept too

Leeches

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Bronze badge

Surely

it's time that someone sued the electric companies and the makers of plastic-coated cables! Without them, piracy wouldn't be possible. It's all their fault!

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Anonymous Coward

Guilty as sin

Type the name of any movie followed by the word "Torrent" and see what you get!

They cant say they are not aware of linking to illega torrents!

I use Google for all my torrent search's!

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TPB wasn't done for linking to copyrighted material

it was done for both a) running trackers for copyrighted material, and b) not doing anything about it when notified that users had put up copyrighted material

both the US and EU laws essentially say that automated services like search engines, and user-generated-content sites like forums (or pirate bay, or rapidshare) are immune to prosecution for the content UNTIL THEY ARE NOTIFIED.

being notified, and then not doing anything about it, is when they get done, though there's an argument to be made that a DMCA notice doesn't qualify for an EU site

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Black Helicopters

erm...

"Googling funds terrorism!!!"

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Bronze badge

Not Links

The main problem is that Google is displaying advertising on the RapidShare site, and so if Microsoft is still doing that as well, no wonder it is still included in the suit. And, while it's true that people can just pop a Google ad banner on their site, with Google having to check what the site is for after the fact, now they must both know, having received their DMCA notices about the links. So they're making money off of copyright infringement.

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RE: Not Links

I don't think that RapidShare has any advertising - they make their money through premium subscriptions. The point about the advertising in the law suit is that Google and Microsoft display ads alongside search results, and so essentially make money from linking to RapidShare.

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IT Angle

Blue Destiny

Google have seemingly removed any reference not only to the links in question, but also to the entire company. I couldn't find it on the first page of a google search... obviously not much SEO going on ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Wrong words used in google search.

Try

blue destiny label

blue destiny records

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Pirate

Shotgun Approach to Takedowns

Rapidshare will remove material if requested, but only in individual cases. It is for the copyright holder to show which files must be removed. I don't think Blue Destiny will get very far with this. Not that, um... I now anything about this at all, but aren't most rapidshare files posted anonymised so you cannot tell what the content is?

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'Does copyright law now supersede all other considerations in modern society'?

'Does copyright law now supersede all other considerations in modern society'

No its not as big a threat as global warming but is probably a far bigger threat to the economy as whole than terrorism. Would certainly put it in the top 10

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Wicket adhesion factors

They're called fences here in in the US too.

I suppose it wouldn't be the ultimate tragedy (though it might be expensive) if the likes of Google and Bing are routinely hit with DMCA takedowns, but it does look like things might get dicey when you throw in the elements of jurisdiction, legitimate distribution, fair use (can a copyright holder use a DMCA takedown to prevent linking to a parody it doesn't like, leaving the search engine only the options to comply automatically or to review the content manually?), hit-and-run takedowns by parties who don't hold copyrights, or perhaps use of the search engine to locate such content for reasons other than piracy?

This looks like the system is batting on an increasingly sticky wicket.

(We don't use that phrase in the US.)

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FAIL

@frymaster

Two things:

"TPB wasn't done for linking to copyrighted material ...it was done for both a) running trackers for copyrighted material"

WTF do you think a "tracker" does? It hosts torrents that are links to material irrespective of copyright status. TPB has never hosted one byte of copyrighted material without permission.

and..

"being notified, and then not doing anything about it, is when they get done, though there's an argument to be made that a DMCA notice doesn't qualify for an EU site"

Utter bollocks. There is NO argument to be made that the DMCA applies to EU sites. The DMCA is a US law.

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No...

The tracker isn't just a link, it's a piece of server softawre that arbitrates and controls the swarm. TBP didn't host any data, but they did control the systems which enable people to obtain or distribute it. There is no torrent without a torrent tracker.

All TPB had to do to keep the law on side was to remove trackers for material which was copyright when requested to do so. Rather than this, they sent emails to people making such requests telling them to "fuck off".

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@Fraser

Pure straw man.

You might as well say a search engine is piece of server software that controls, arbitrates and facilitates access for a swarm of web-browsers.

Technical differences in the protocol don't alter the conceptual process, and indexing a torrent tracker is more abstracted from the copyrighted donkey porn itself than a google link, not less. Copyright infringers should be taken to court, not the second-cousins of the grandmothers of the people who show you where they live.

> "There is no torrent without a torrent tracker."

Funny that. There are no google links without a search engine.

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Not a straw man

I didn't mis-represent the argument, therefore it's not a straw man...

A torrent tracker is not a link, however the torrent file is a link to the tracker. The tracker is command and control for the swarm. A web search isn't a command and control system, it is not like a torrent tracker, it merely points to content in one direction, "you can find this, there", whereas a torrent tracker is a dynamic, realtime mapping of parts of a BLOB allowing a swarm of machines to distribute small parts of it until everyone has the full BLOB.

I notice that you didn't contest that TBP wouldn't be in trouble if they were generally a bit more polite to people and took down trackers when requested.

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Searching

Gee, sounds like a Rupert Murdoch type of action, time to explain all of that music companies sites and any page at all that refers to any music from them? Maybe the economic effect of that might make them rethink.

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It was only a matter of time...

There are important differences in law between Sweden and the US and technical differences between http links and torrent links. However the suing of TPB was like the opening of Pandora's box - in TPB's defence they compared themselves to Google. Google and MS will have the resources to defend themselves but legislating against a free Internet will ultimately muddy the waters. The winners will be the lawyers, the losers will be the little guys - that's you and I.

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FAIL

It is almost as if...

... Blue Destiny what a huge amount of free publicity before dropping this case when faced with the Google phalanx of lawyers.

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Paris Hilton

But surely?

Under the introduction agency model:

And here we have a range of providers providing the product(s) you are seeking.

It is quite a wide range of providers.

Some of these are totally illegal selling pirated or stolen versions of what you seek and others are totally legitimate.

We make no distinction in the list we provide of illegal or legal providers.

Bing!

Why not a general rule stating something along lines of:

the results of this search may include criminals selling or providing stolen goods and also put your credit card details at risk

OR

Every step we can take to ensure that the search results provide bona fide and legitimate suppliers have been taken. If you encounter a provider selling illegal copies or stolen goods please let us know

Or maybe even the only people who can list items for sale (from new) are bona fide registered sellers.

I think these ramblings indicate that there are solutions of sorts available if parties involved merely decided to get there acts together.

And this should also be a pre-requirement before (as in BEFORE) any escalation in prosecution under copyright laws.

Basic model: even the best malls and shopping centres employ security

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Just an idea

I've always thought it would be fantastic if one could somehow co-ordinate every consumer in the world to boycott all music buying for a year. Imagine how much fun it would be watching all the music companies scramble and change their tune, it would be a barrel of laughs.

Obviously that's not feasible, but complete boycott of any page that even mentions a title from a particular music company by Google may well be. Sad though that maybe then they would be accused of abuse of power.

Still, it would be fun to watch.

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Go

About Time Rapidshare were tackled

Im happy rapidshare is being targeted, their entire business model is based around copyrighted material sharing

Its time they were taken on in court, they are making millions on the back of other peoples work

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Paris Hilton

Meh

Sites like rapidshit only exist because the music and movie industries continue to fail spectacularly at monetising their own digital content. They have been led cowering into the 21st century by the likes of Apple (spit) and yet still they don't get it. Greed and lack of vision prevented them from investing when the time was right and now they're paying the price.

I don't have anything against going after Rapidshit but they're not predators; they're just opportunist scavengers. Get rid of them and they'll be replaced by someone else. Take away the food source on the other hand and they'll starve.

Paris cos she too likes chomping on random bits of other folks' meat.

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Anonymous Coward

Didn't you read the article?

They're NOT going after RapidShare. Which doesn't make sense really.

It's as if Dave is selling stolen blu ray players, but no one bothers stopping him because it's slightly easier to go after his mate Bob for telling customers about Dave in the first place.

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no

Blackworx: What the heck do the business practices of entertainment companies have to do with theft of intellectual property? Every time there’s discussion about piracy somebody comes up with this old and flawed argument “You parked your car in the dark alley, it’s your fault it got stolen.” No, it’s the fault of the person who stole it.

AC: It makes perfect sense not going after RapidShare. First of all, it’s German site so it’s outside jurisdiction of US courts. Second, it’s much more efficient to make sure these sites don’t appear in search results rather than going after the sites individually.

I think the law is pretty clear: if you got warned and still decided to display the links you are liable. The only mistake here is going after Microsoft: they took down the links.

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@AC

You misunderstand. My point is that there IS no point going after Rapidshare whilst at the same time failing to fix the problem that caused its (and the original Napster's, and everyone else who's made money in this way on such a large scale) existence in the first place. How is that argument tired and flawed? There will always be scum who want to make money off other people's hard work, Rapidshare is just the latest in a long line and I'm not saying they shouldn't be done for it, just that it wouldn't be happening on such an industrial scale if those who were in a position to do something about it ten years ago actually had. If they'd got it right then folk like Rapidshare would be relegated to the position of scummy car boot sale stall holders, not million-Euro businesses. That's where your analogy falls down. Opportunity is the key. Sure, park your car down a dark alley, but leave the engine running and the door open and it sure as hell is your fault you're not sitting behind the wheel any more.

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Anonymous Coward

@blackworx

Well, they are not going after RapidShare because I'm sure they realize the futility of such action. They are going after search engines and I think this strategy makes a lot of sense. If those sites are not available in search results their effect will be minimized.

I disagree with you that there's something they could have done ten years ago or ever to stop it. Yes, the opportunity is the key but given how easily digital media is copied the opportunity always will be there. There were bands that tried alternative methods of distribution, such as letting people pay what they want for their music (including paying nothing). Guess what, all of those methods failed because as long as people can get something for free they won’t bother paying for it. Entertainment industry tried using DRM, shutting offending sites down and even going after individual users and each time it makes them look like the bad guys. I think everything possible has been tried so I don’t think industry is guilty of any negligence here.

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Napping

You're forgetting that the mindset of the general population 10 years ago wasn't one of "grab what you can for free off the network". Before so-called universal broadband, everyone was well used to paying for their music, or otherwise putting up with a tape or, latterly, CDR copy (I know I'm generalising a lot here but I'm trying to be quick). There was a window of opportunity around the time of Napster, when the music biz could have invested in digital sales. The market was there, the "competition" (apart from being completely illegal) was relatively weak both in depth of catalogue and quality of material. All they had to do was make the leap - customers and their mindset would have gone with them; instead they wasted years trying to stuff the genie back in to its bottle. Even now, after years of widespread illegal filesharing, people have shown a tremendous appetite for paid downloads.

I know - all very easy for me to say in hindsight, and I'm definitely not trying to imply it would have been an easy opportunity to spot at the time. I know for a fact I wouldn't have been bright enough to spot it, but then I wasn't a music biz exec getting paid megabucks to do just that. The simple fact is they were caught napping and to say their response was inadequate would be a massive understatement.

Oh, and after all that it turns out Rapidshit is actually named in the suit anyway!

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

I think they should sue anyone who links to Google or MS, as they are obviously guilty too.

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Bronze badge

Marketing

Has anyone here heard of this company or their artists? This sounds like a marketing strategy for an unknown company with unknown artists to get noticed.

Like someone else said, Rapidshare DO take down files if they are notified that the content is in breach of copyright or otherwise illegal.

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Stop

Google Caching

Im pretty sure Google provides cached versions (text-only admittedly) of many websites, it wouldn't surprise me if they had a few of rapidshare. That would be google hosting illegal material

Also how come caching isn't copyright infringment, stealing copies of peoples webpages to serve up to your clients sounds very shifty to me.

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Anonymous Coward

@Google Caching

You can always turn off the search engines with the correct robots.txt file.

But site owners also have a page that they want to be found, so they can't have it both ways.

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Oh no you can't

robots is a very poor way to keep the buggers out. Based on the number of spiders that attempt to crawl down through the admin pages of my site very few of them honour robots. Additionally one has to keep on top of the damn thing because if you reorganize any pages the bots are all over it before robots has been updated, and because robots is a readable file it highlights locations on your site which you do not want indexed which is of interest to nere-do-wells

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begs the question

This sort of begs the question of "what are they trying to achieve?" ... are they _seriously_ trying to nail Google/MS or are they trying to point out inconsistencies in the way the law is applied. If Google/MS win then the argument could be made that other tracking sites that also just link to infringing material (rather than hosting it) should be safe from being sued.

I wonder what would happen if a tracking site ran with the line "look at all these naughty copyright infringers we've found - and all these files they're hosting - someone should do something! We've shown you where they are."

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destiny?

Appropriately named any how, as I can certainly guess where their true destiny lies after going after MS and the Google. Maybe they're just looking for an excuse to file bankruptcy. I'm a huge blues fan and have never heard of them. I can't even begin to imagine prodding the lawyers from both of these companies to come after me.

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Bod
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Pirate

All I can say to them is...

Good luck with that ;)

They may be obscure now, but when they lose they'll go out of existence altogether. Still, one less muppet in "the Industry" banging on about piracy instead of adapting to the way the public consumes media these days.

Forget chasing the pirates and adopt the download model and price it fairly (with fair use).

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