Artists Sue CBS, CNET, for Promoting and Profiting from Piracy

A coalition of artists has joined eccentric billionaire and FilmOn founder Alki David in a new class action lawsuit against CNET and CBS Interactive. The complaint filed at a federal court in Los Angeles claims that through websites like Download.com, these companies have willingly profited from popularizing online copyright infringements. The artists want the CBS chiefs to be held accountable for "soliciting such widespread theft."

cnetEarlier this year Alki David and a handful of artists sued CBS Interactive and CNET for their role in distributing LimeWire and other P2P and DRM-cracking software.

In July the lawsuit was pulled, but David promised to come back later in the year with an even bigger case. That day has now arrived.

Together with the “Justice for Artists Coalition” which includes Dough E Fresh, H-Town, Slick Rick and Ron Brows, David has filed a new lawsuit at a federal court in Los Angeles. In common with their previous case, the coalition claims that CBS and CNET profited heavily from distributing and popularizing file-sharing software such as LimeWire.

“CBS Interactive has quietly made billions by inducing the public to break the law, by providing them the file-sharing software and step-by-step guides, on exactly how to do it. No one has held Defendant accountable for this. Until now,” the complaint reads.

The artists point out that Download.com was one of the main distributors of LimeWire, and that CBS-owned sites promoted and profited from encouraging people to infringe copyrights.

“Defendants have been the main distributer of several of the most prominent P2P software platforms. Defendants promoted these P2P systems in order to directly profit from wide-scale copyright infringement. For example, Internet users downloaded more then [sic] 220 million copies from Defendants’ website, Download.com,” it adds.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, Alki David explains that the coalition wants to hold the bosses at CBS accountable for their alleged criminal behavior.

“The objective is to get CBS principals up on criminal charges for soliciting such widespread theft. These people have not joined the lawsuit because it’s a popularity contest and not because they are driven by greed or ignorance. Because their lives have been hammered by widespread piracy,” David told us.

“The CBS agenda is to control the Internet as an outlet for content distribution by any means possible. The future for creative and independent innovation is bleak if this is allowed to continue. The art in media enriches us all being exposed to the choices of a few affect all our lives,” he added.

The group of artists currently involved in the class action lawsuit is expected to expand in the coming weeks and months. According to Alki David there’s no shortage of interest.

“We have only scratched the surface. Many more rights-holders are coming forward representing tens of thousands of more intellectual properties but the verification process for identifying ownership is long and detailed, so we will keep on adding as we go,” David commented.

The allegations in the complaint lead the plaintiffs to conclude that CBS and CNET are guilty of inducing copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement. In addition to receiving compensation they want the defendants to stop promoting P2P software altogether.

Do they have a chance? Time will tell.


A video message from David

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