C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Interesting Lawsuit: Web Host Liable for Contributory Infringement

"A South Carolina jury's recent $770,750 verdict against Bright Builders Inc. marks the first time a Web-hosting company has been found liable for contributory infringement without actual notice that a customer's Web site lists fake products for sale."

Things that make you go hmm...

I was previously mentioning that people have started asking me to verify some facts and sources while sending them links.

One of my conversations lead to me receiving this interesting link. I thought you might like to read this. It's the first time this has happened in a US Court of Law (according to the article).

The intellectual property on your blogs is more valuable than you think... so are your photographs, service and trade marks...

YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO THIS. We work in a service industry so when you associate your firm's business with some person/entity who may be using something you do or provide to further their ends just keep "due diligence" in the back of your mind because anyone can set up an account here and claim to be a business when they are not...

Google is your friend but even Google doesn't have the skinny on fake websites...


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Comment balloon 9 commentsC Tann-Starr • March 20 2011 12:15AM


C Tann-Starr, That's what you call over reaching. It's also whats wrong with America. Next they'll cast a net large enough to catch everyone who uses the Internet.

Posted by Roger Radcliff, AFB Specialist - Barksdale (FREEDOM REALTY) over 9 years ago

It's like a newspaper printing an ad for a real estate company when the paper KNOWS that company is not for real. The paper can't just take the money and close their eyes to the legality of it.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 9 years ago

Roger, I figure the appeal cases are going to be interesting... There is a lot I do not understand but this certainly is worth taking note of because I know what the terms of service and community rules here are but have no idea what the firm who got caught up in that mess had for their disclaimers (I don't even know if they had any disclaimers). I have a disclaimer and copyright notice in my signature that shows up in every post plus on my sidebar. If I have an issue with a dumb dumb I can point to the plain language notice and rules here to set that person/entity straight.

A lot of people on AR claim to be all kinds of expert this and that yet don't have a disclaimer or copyright notice posted... If people print out an article from a reputable expert and it turns out to be wrong information they can get bent out of shape and sometimes respond in interesting ways.

People have sued over comments left on third party blogs... I've been reading a lot but commenting less here because of it. Everyone on the blog roll becomes a potential witness to the out of hand conversations when the litigation button gets pushed. I have first hand experience mediating on-line squabbles that mushroomed into litigation and divorce. It is not pleasant to wake up to a panicked spouse who deleted a post only to discover their offended other half printed the whole thing out...

Lesson learned? Moderate your blog comments and don't accept anonymous ones...

This article also reminded me to check the veracity of what virtual people say before entering a business relationship. Just because the website is gorgeous doesn't mean it's real...

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Hella, that's an interesting point as well. The classifieds are about selling advertising space so if a scam artist places fake ads on Craigslist or the NY Times how will this play out? I keep thinking there must have been something unique about how that company got caught out there. This wasn't done on a whim. I wonder what the jury instructions and questions were like...

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Here's an interesting quote from Christopher Finnerty, one of the lawyers for Cleveland Golf, "For Internet Intermediaries like SEOs and web hosts, this should be a cautionary warning." He further states that "The jury found that web hosts and SEO's cannot rely solely on third parties to police their web sites and provide actual notice of counterfeit sales from the brand owners. Even prior to notification from a third party, Internet intermediaries must be proactive to stop infringing sales when they knew or should have known that these illegal sales were occurring through one of the web sites they host."

I guess we should all start paying a bit more attention to the websites we buy goods from. I am always Googling for sales and have never thought twice about saving money on-line with some unknown entity. That stops today. I will be checking the sites out a little more thoroughly and use Paypal instead of my debit cards.  :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Fred, I amambivalent... Streaming is big business but so are royalty rights. I get a penny everytime someone streams one of my songs from responsible websites that actually adhere to the cpoyright laws. The songwriter is due a mechanical royalty of $0.091 cents per sold unit so file sharing robs the intellectual holders of revenue. I get $0.70 every time a person pays $0.99 for one of my songs. Take away taxes and the statutory mechanical rights payment and what do I have left?

A reputable sound engineer in a recording studio pulls $50 to $400 per hour, which is a separate fee from the space rental. You have no idea what it takes to make a single song much less a music video or news broadcast. So when people swipe movies and music and think because they know me I wont b*tch about finding my catalog in their slideshows I find myself wondering what artists have done to deserve such a lack of regard or respect when the President decides enough is enough.

The felony has to do with the constant disregard of the owners rights. I have a license site where people can pay the nominal fee of $10 to use a small collection of my music royalty free in their web projects yet they steal and embed my music without permission. If 1 million people stream it in a year that's a lot of pennies I didn't get. That's a college fund for my kids...

If someone bootlegs my music and makes a mint selling it for 15 cents on-line (which a company in another country did) do you really believe it shouldn't be a felony? Seriously?

Downloading a YouTube video means they get the visual and audio files. Just because I shared how I draw Angelina Jolie doesn't give people the right to rip four tracks of audio off to repackage for other means. The felony is about not respecting the terms of service. A LICENSE TO VIEW IS NOT A LICENSE TO STEAL.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago


My Jango music station is not free for me as a record label. I pay advertising spins and subsidize the listeners. Radio stations play "free music" solely to drive advertisements. No one would listen or watch television just to hear ads drone 24 hours a day. Entertainment has always been about advertising revenue and sales.

Next time you go to the movies watch all the branding... The cars... what music plays... where they eat... what they wear... We entertain people so we can place our products and services before the masses. Even every blog has a link to somewhere (LOL). ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Very interseting topic. Thanks for posting.  Seems online blogging is becoming more of a liability.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 9 years ago

Pamela, any type of writing can potentially be a liability. It depends upon what is written (LOL). ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

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