No Surprise: If You Actively Promote The Fact That You Lead People To Infringing Content, Courts Will Smack You Down

I’d been avoiding writing about the Newzbin case, because, honestly, I didn’t have much to say about it — but people keep submitting it, so here’s a very quick post. Newzbin, one of a bunch of Usenet aggregators, was found liable for copyright infringement of its users in a UK court. The ruling doesn’t appear all that different from similar rulings elsewhere, with courts focusing on staff actively promoting the infringing nature of content on the site. In this case, it told site “editors” to promote works that were almost certainly infringing. Whether or not this makes sense in the larger picture, the message is clear: if you actively promote infringing activities, courts are not going to look kindly on your activities, even if the actual infringement is done by users. This trend has been clear for quite some time, and I’m still confused why any site would encourage its users to infringe these days. It’s just asking for a legal beatdown.

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