Two major Hollywood studios – Disney and Warner Brothers – have been awarded a total of $400,000 in damages as a result of a contributory copyright infringement lawsuit against advertising firm Triton Media.
Triton Media was embroiled in the lawsuit after it was alleged that the firm was placing advertising services for pirate movie websites, or ones that streamed or linked to unlicensed film or TV content.
Although not involved in displaying the adverts itself, Triton Media was found to be liable for contributory copyright infringement as well as inducement to infringe.
The company was ordered to pay named victims Disney and Warner Brothers a total of $400,000 in damages. Unless Triton Media had the appropriate professional indemnity policy for copyright infringement in place, this payout is likely to have hit the firm hard.
The outcome of this case has also prompted industry insiders to speculate on which other advertising companies could face similar liability charges. At the top of the list is the search engine giant Google, as it benefits financially from advertisement placement sales.
The Hollywood Reporter summed up the situation with the pertinent question:
“Does the MPAA (the Motion Picture Association of America) have the stomach to pick a fight with the elephants in the room or will it aim to pick the cherries of low-hanging fruit from companies like Triton?”