Ludvdarts and Digipie sued AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile for copyright infringement
No Vicarious Liability for Wireless Network Carriers – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court upheld a decision that dismissed claims of vicarious copyright infringement against major wireless providers due to a lack of any system of supervision in place for the providers to influence, affect, or control the content its users were sharing on multimedia messaging service networks. Luvdarts, LLC et al. v. AT&T Mobility et al.
Ludvdarts and Digipie sued AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile for copyright infringement, alleges damages of a whopping $8 billion to $10 billion. The plaintiffs create, publish, and sell commercial multimedia messaging content for distribution over wireless networks. This content consists of digital greeting cards, advertisements, news, coupons, and games. The content includes a notice limiting the sharing of such data to a single transfer. Users disregarded this notice and Ludvarts and Digipie’s content experienced widespread distribution. As a result, Ludvarts and Digipie alleged vicarious liability against the major network providers.
The court dismissed the claim for a 12(b)(6) – failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (this author’s favorite motion). The appellate court agreed with the lower court’s finding because the plaintiffs did not allege that the providers has at least some capacity to supervise the end user’s distribution on the content.
The ninth circuit elaborated on an the doctrine of vicarious liability from the case A&M Records v. Napster. Vicarious liability in copyright will only attach if a party has the “right and ability to supervise the infringing activity” and a “direct financial interest in the activity.” In the Ludvarts case, the major wireless providers have no way of supervising the users. this insufficient to show the required level of supervision.