Copyright Infringement Essentials – Understanding “Contributory Infringement”
This blog discusses what you need to know about a cause of action for “contributory” copyright infringement, which in essence is a type of “aiding and abetting” type of case.
In Online Policy Grp. v. Diebold, Inc., 337 F. Supp. 2d 1195, 1199–200 (N.D. Cal. 2004), the Northern District Court in California discussed this legal concept:
“There is no statutory rule of liability for contributory infringement. However, courts recognize such liability when the defendant “with knowledge of the infringing activity, induces, causes or materially contributes to the infringing conduct of another.” Gershwin Pub. Corp. v. Columbia Artists Mgmt., Inc., 443 F.2d 1159, 1162 (2nd Cir.1971). “Such participation must be substantial.” Religious Tech. Ctr., 907 F.Supp. at 1361.
The party alleging contributory infringement must show:
(1) direct infringement by a primary infringer
(2) knowledge of the infringement,
(3) material contribution to the infringement.” See Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster Ltd., 380 F.3d 1154, 1160 (9th Cir.2004).
A defendant may be liable under a vicarious liability theory if the plaintiff demonstrates:
(1) direct infringement by a primary party,
(2) a direct financial benefit to the defendant, and the right and ability to supervise the infringers.” Id. at 1164.
Contact a Software, IP & Copyright Law Firm
We have substantial experience handling federal copyright law matters dealing with infringed software, movies, and photos. Contact us to discuss your case with a IP attorney. We can be reached at (877) 276-5084. We offer flat rate legal fees for most non-litigation cases.
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