Big Content goes after the media now

Not content with bringing down LimeWire, the music and film industry is suing newspapers for providing links to P2P software.

The first one in its sights is CNET which runs a large database of software downloads. It provided users access to P2P software like LimeWire, and to the movie and film industry that makes it a pirate.

Alki David,a film producer, said that he would sue CNET and its owner, CBS, for providing hundreds of millions of downloads of LimeWire P2P software over the last decade.

His case is that CNET had “direct participation in massive copyright infringement on peer-to-peer systems. CNET’s Download.com was the “main distributor” of the software.

P2P software isn’t illegal, and so David will have to prove CNET somehow induced or encourage copyright infringement.

Also on the list of plaintiffs is a bloke called Mike Mozart who claims he has spent the last year collecting alleged examples of this.

The evidence apparently is news stories where CNET hacks were not baying for the blood of P2P pirates. However, some of the evidence seems a little strange.

One is from 2007 where CNET editors printed a “spyware horror story” from a woman who had downloaded a cracked copy of Dreamweaver using P2P software. The woman says that she has turned to legal software, and the editorial response said, “we’re glad you’ve gone legit.

Alki David claims that CNET provided the “Guns” for pirates and encourged them to use them. This is an odd argument as we thought it had been enshrined in US culture that guns do not kill people, people kill people”.

David announced that he would seek more artists for his lawsuit, pledging that “it will become the most significant copyright infringement lawsuit in history.”

However things are not going that well for David. His company FilmOn, which rebroadcast over-the-air TV signals on the Internet has just been shut down by a federal judge’s injunction because of er…piracy concerns. Meanwhile CBS is usually on the other side of the courtroom against pirates as it spends most of its time making content.

P2P software available on Download.com has an editor’s note saying that using P2P and file-sharing software to distribute copyrighted material without authorisation is illegal in the United States and many other countries.

Even if the case is won, all David and his ilk will have done is alienate the very people that they need to get onside to win the hearts and minds of P2P users. Tech mags write for people who see technology as useful and the antics of the movie and music industry as intrusive. Behaving like content trolls on the people who inform these people has to be a pretty bad idea.