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CNET can keep its torrent client downloads, court rules

Last week we heard how a coalition of artists and one billionaire had targeted CNET’s Download.com with legal action, hoping that the court would ban it from distributing the file sharing software uTorrent. However a court has now ruled that the site is more than within its right to continue doing so.

Initially it was claimed by the coalition, that because CNET had reviewed the software and provided an instructional video on how to use it, that it was encouraging the use of the program. The court disagreed, with the judge saying that there was no indication of encouragement and that a ban on any distribution of the technology would dampen “public discussion of P2P technologies.”

The judge did admit that there was plenty of evidence to suggest that uTorrent and other P2P clients can be used to infringe copyright, “However, inducement of infringement requires more than just knowledge of actual or potential 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’.”

TorrentFreak explains, that despite the argument by the coalition that past infringement had been made by those that downloaded the client, ultimately they needed to prove that future infringement would occur – which they cannot.

It remains online, for now

Any stifling of file sharing software, could potentially lead to less of a discussion on file sharing in the media, the judge suggested. Which is something he didn’t want to allow.

“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,” said CBS Interactive’s Rosabel Tao.

KitGuru Says: Good to hear this. It’s unfair for the software creators to be found liable for what end users do with it – let alone the software distributors.

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