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Legal Brief Stresses Proper Limits of Secondary Copyright Liability

CDT, joined by groups from EFF to ITAA, told a federal court today that the law requires caution in assessing whether to impose copyright liability on the makers of multi-use technologies. In a legal brief filed in a lawsuit against the peer-to-peer file sharing service LimeWire, CDT and its allies did not take sides but rather urged the court to decide the case within the careful framework established by previous Supreme Court cases in this area. Those cases make clear that distributing a technology with “substantial noninfringing uses” should not raise rise copyright liability concerns, as long as the distributor does not actively promote the technology’s use for infringement. Reinterpreting or expanding secondary copyright liability in ways that undermine this crucial limitation, the brief warned, it could significantly chill technological innovation.