Cat vs. Mouse 2.0: Online Copyright Enforcement 10 Years After The Death of Napster


To say that technology has undergone a dramatic change since the golden days of Napster would be putting things mildly. The advent of torrent technology has created a host of problems for those seeking to enforce their intellectual property rights. Many popular torrent search engine websites are located overseas, in countries where intellectual property rights are less substantive or may not exists at all. The faceless pirates who make unauthorized copies of copyrighted content available through BitTorrent downloading are virtually impossible to identify or locate. The practice is so widespread that even those with the means to enforce their intellectual property rights (such as major movie studios) have relegated themselves to cease-or-desist letters with little to no follow-up, with the expense of thousands of individual lawsuits greatly outweighing the potential damages for each subjectively low-valued case of infringing conduct.

Those seeking to prevent (or limit) unlawful downloading of their intellectual property through the use of BitTorrent technology find themselves left with few potentially viable avenues of recourse, the last of which may very well be search engines such as Google. These online directories often serve as the gateway between those seeking to commit direct copyright infringement through BitTorrent downloading, and the secondary torrent websites that actively facilitate the infringement. There can be little question that those seeking to locate torrent websites (or the torrents themselves) turn to popular search engines like Google in droves, leaving copyright holders wondering what, if anything, can be done to at least slow down the unlawful downloading of their copyrighted material

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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