Mini music label Blue Destiny Records has sued both Google and Microsoft for allegedly “facilitating and enabling” the illegal distribution of copyrighted songs.
Filed on Monday with a US federal court in Northern Florida, the suit is an attempt to choke off the distribution of Blue Destiny tunes on the Germany-based file-sharing service RapidShare. It accuses RapidShare of knowingly running “a distribution center for unlawful copies of copyrighted works,” while claiming that Google and Microsoft are propping the company up.
According to the suit, RapidShare benefits from ad relationships with the two search giants. “RapidShare generates revenue by selling subscriptions for its high-speed download services, and through advertising dollars generated by its advertising partnerships with Google and Microsoft,” the suit reads. “RapidShare’s business success is accomplished only with the knowing assistance of these two top search engines - Google and Microsoft’s Bing.”
But the overarching claim is that RapidShare is able to “achieve consistent prominent ranking in search engine results that direct users to websites where illegal ‘free’ copies of [Blue Destiny’s] recordings may be stolen.” US copyright law exempts companies from liability if they’re merely linking to infringing content - but only if they’re unaware of the infringement and don’t receive financial benefit.
The suits insists that Google and Microsoft benefit financially because they generate ad revenue from search results. And both companies have received DMCA takedown notices requesting removal of the links in question.