Columbia Pictures, Paramount, Disney win in federal appeals court against Canadian search engine

Mar 22, 2013

LOS ANGELES  – A federal appeals panel in Pasadena Thursday issued a unanimous decision against the Canadian search engine isoHunt for “inducing” users to illegally download and distribute copyrighted movies and TV programs.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that isoHunt owner Gary Fung is liable for contributing to violations of federal copyright law.

Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount and other Hollywood studios sued Fung in Los Angeles federal court in 2006, alleging that isoHunt and other sites Fung operated helped Internet users find and watch copyrighted material without charge.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson granted the film companies summary judgment in 2009 and issued an injunction limiting Fung’s activities.

The appeals court affirmed Wilson’s ruling that Fung and isoHunt committed copyright infringement by helping users access copyrighted shows over the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network.

Further, the appellate court held that isoHunt and Fung were not protected by the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

“This ruling affirms a core principle of copyright law: Those who build businesses around encouraging, enabling, and helping others to commit copyright infringement are themselves infringers, and will be held accountable for their illegal actions,” said Henry Hoberman, senior executive vice president and global general counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America.

“It also strikes an important blow in the fight to preserve the jobs of millions of workers in the creative industries, whose hard work and investments are exploited by rogue websites for their own profit,” Hoberman said.

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9th Circuit Appeals Court rules against Universal Music Group in copyright lawsuit

Mar 15, 2013

LOS ANGELES  – A federal appellate panel today affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of copyright infringement claims brought by Universal Music Group against an online video-sharing site.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, for the second time, a 2009 Los Angeles federal judge’s finding that Santa Monica-based Veoh Networks is federally protected from liability claims.

District Judge Raymond C. Fisher, who also penned the panel’s 2011 ruling, wrote that Veoh was protected by “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which shields Internet service providers that unknowingly post copyrighted material and act expeditiously to remove it once alerted.

The San Francisco appellate panel previously found that it is up to copyright holders like UMG to “efficiently identify infringing copies” rather than leaving it to providers like Veoh, which “cannot readily ascertain what material is copyrighted and what is not.”

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