Judge Says CNET Can Continue Distributing BitTorrent Clients

CBS and CNET have won one battle but the legal war is not over yet

Billionaire Alki David and the recording artists who have filed a lawsuit against CNET and CBS for facilitating and promoting copyright infringement have failed to convince the judge to issue a preliminary injunction.

According to TorrentFreak, the judge ruled that banning the companies from distributing BitTorrent clients via Download.com would not help the fight against piracy. Instead, it would only be “silencing public discussion of P2P technologies.”

District Court Judge Dale Fisher explained that inducement or infringement required more than just knowledge of potential or even actual infringement.

“While there might be some evidence of past inducement of copyright infringement, there is no evidence of any ongoing distribution of any file sharing software ‘with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement’.”

Fisher said that older articles published by CNET could be interpreted as a form of encouraging piracy, but he argued that those reviews were made a decade ago.

The more recent articles submitted by the plaintiffs as evidence don’t encourage online piracy in any way, the judge noted.

“Most of the articles cited by Plaintiffs are straightforward, legitimate news articles that do not in any way encourage or induce copyright infringement. This suggests that Plaintiffs’ goal goes far beyond stopping actual infringement by Defendants and extends instead to silencing public discussion of P2P technologies,” he wrote.

CBS welcomes the decision, but the legal battle is not over. The company still has to defend itself against the initial accusations. However, they appear to be confident they can win.

“The Court has clearly recognized that none of our ongoing actions encourage or induce copyright infringement. Needless to say, we are very pleased with this resounding victory at this stage, and are fully confident we will similarly prevail on all remaining claims as well,” CBS’s Rosabel Tao told TorrentFreak.

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