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Digital Sharing Gets More Protection from Ninth Circuit

The Recorder

As digital sharing via Facebook, Twitter and other services takes deep root in everyday life, a ruling from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals offers yet more protection for the intermediaries that facilitate that sharing.

The decision affirmed a Central District court opinion that a file-sharing provider isn't liable for damages caused by users transmitting copyrighted material. The three-judge panel ruled that Veoh, a sharing site showcasing media from both major and independent producers, did not have "actual knowledge" of copyright violations because Universal Music Group, the largest of the "big four" music labels, did not send a notice requesting it take down specific, copyrighted material.

A takedown notice is required under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which makes so-called "safe harbor" provisions for sharing sites. Under those provisions, sharing sites are shielded from liability if users break the law.

"The DMCA's safe harbors were not enacted in a vacuum," wrote Keker & Van Nest attorney Michael Kwun in an amicus brief filed on behalf of eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., InterActiveCorp and Yahoo Inc. "These safe harbors represent one piece of a bargained-for legal regime that was negotiated with copyright owners, online service providers and academia at the table."

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Michael Kwun’s practice focuses on the legal issues raised by cutting-edge technologies. He has worked on many of the most-watched high-tech cases of the Internet era, both as in-house and outside counsel. He has a natural curiosity about, and affinity for, technology issues and can communicate as effectively with a client's engineers as their lawyers. 

Matt Werdegar helps clients safeguard their intellectual property. He focuses on his clients’ business objectives and crafts novel, yet pragmatic, litigation strategies to meet those objectives. In addition, Mr. Werdegar is often called upon to assist with difficult, high-stakes disputes in a variety of other areas, including professional liability, breach of contract, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty cases.

Ben Berkowitz represents corporations and individuals in all types of complex litigation, including intellectual property matters, commercial disputes, and white collar criminal cases. He has represented clients in a wide range of industries, including internet services, venture capital investment, professional services, software design, health care, and financial services. Mr. Berkowitz has litigated cases before state and federal trial courts throughout the United States, and has substantial appellate experience before state and federal courts of appeal as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.