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Court Rules on Sufficiency of Pleading Vicarious or Contributory Copyright Infringement Post-Napster

August 16, 2004

By Naomi Jane Gray

On July 14, 2004, Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the Northern District of California issued a ruling addressing the pleading requirements for claims of contributory and vicarious copyright infringement in a series of related cases arising out of the aftermath of the Napster litigation. In these cases, the plaintiffs (comprised of recording studios and music publishers) sued entities with substantial financial  investments in Napster, Inc., alleging that the defendants engaged in contributory and vicarious copyright infringement by investing in, and as a result, allegedly controlling, Napster.