After being accused of copyright infringement by book publishers Elsevier and John Wiley & Sons, Chitika and Clicksor ad networks, that offered services to a site that displayed links to pirated e-books, were found not guilty by a United States District Judge.
The whole issue started after the advertising networks were found to be in business with Pharmatext.org,
a site that hosts links to illegal copies of e-books, reports TorrentFreak
The publishers went after the ad networks and against Enom’s Whois Privacy Protection Service to make sure they can find out exactly who is behind the illegal file-sharing site.
If at first the defendants weren’t present at the trial and the judge ruled in favor of Elsevier, in the second round Chitika retaliated and proved that they have no way of precisely telling if the websites they advertise contain links that promote piracy.
As it turned out, Pharmatext.org
is based in India and over a period of two years the revenue generated by the company for Chitika was only $510 (357 EUR), which indicates that the arrangement wasn’t very profitable.
“Plaintiffs do not allege facts showing that Chitika was familiar with the content of the Pharmatext website, or knew (or had reason to know) that such content was infringing,” wrote Judge Richard G. Stearns in his ruling.
Legal experts on the other hand believe that the publishers could have easily won the battle if they would have approached the matter from a different direction. Law professor Eric Goldman believes that Elsevier should have prompted the advertisers to drop the collaboration with Pharmatext on the grounds that it represents a copyright infringing website.
Goldman is certain that Chitika would have terminated the collaboration, especially considering the fact that there was little income generated by the Indian site.
This is not the first time when Wiley & Sons go after Internet pirates. Not long ago they sued BitTorrent customers
who downloaded e-books from the “For Dummies” series.