Copyright “safe harbors” shrink in wake of MP3Tunes, other red flag rulings

24 Mar

Gigaom

Studios have long came up short in controversial court campaigns to force websites to do more to stop piracy, but new developments this week show again they may be gaining the upper hand. This could be good news for the movie and music industries, but it could also be a cause for alarm for internet and technology advocates.

In case you missed it, a jury this week found that Michael Robertson, CEO of defunct music service MP3Tunes, was liable for copyright infringement. The jury concluded that Robertson, whose websites permitted users to upload songs and store them in “lockers,” had turned a blind eye to piracy — meaning that they forfeited the so-called “safe harbor” protections under copyright law that normally ensure that a website is not liable for the misdeeds of its users.

The significance of the case has little to do with MP3Tunes, which has long been…

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