Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The scent of sanity in Paris

If I ring my mates to organise a bank raid no one really expects my phone company to end up in court... ..and if I decide my finances need a boost and send out a bunch of fake invoices to a few unsuspecting companies it's not the post office that finds itself in the dock. So why is it that in intellectual property crime the rights holders seem to think the operators and application service providers are fair game for lawsuits and other bullying?

In verdict that has that scent of sanity eBay have just won a case in France against L'Oreal over sales of counterfeit perfumes - basically saying they are not responsible for whether or not goods advertised on their site are genuine or not. More pragmatically, I think the verdict actually means that the court was satisfied that eBay are doing enough to fulfil any duty to protect the public and rights holders from fraudulent advertising.

Of course if we adopted the media industry principle we could see people seeking damages from billboard companies that allowed advertising for cigarettes, and car showrooms up in court for aiding and abetting reckless driving... we could even see consumers being sued because they're sending firms bankrupt by not buying their products.

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