I had this idea to make a network where people can get paid to let other people use their computer for computing purposes. Let's say they got permission to use Person B's computer under terms and conditions, basically saying:

"I will not do anything illegal using this computer."

And they agreed upon the terms. But Person A used Person B's computer to do something illegal like, let's say, distributing paid music for free (without permission) using that computer as a server, so they are violating copyright law. But how can one say "Person B is innocent!" in a valid way, before they have to even leave for court.

Oh, and Person A and Person B both have unlimited liability.

  • I mean, not having to go to court. Sorry. I just changed It Jul 12 '15 at 1:20
  • Maybe I know nothing, but don't you have to go to court? I am not a master, or, really anything, at this subject. I mean if you do something that breaks the law or accused of it Jul 12 '15 at 1:22
  • I just don't want them to have to do anything. I want to say they are innocent without them having to do anything. Jul 12 '15 at 1:23

This is likely to depend on whether Person B is aware of what Person A is doing, regardless of any imputations Person A makes as to the nature of their business.

If Person B is aware, or it is found that Person B ought to have been aware, that Person A is doing something illegal, then they may be held contributorily liable for damages suffered.

For instance, in (what is still) a landmark case for copyright infringement, A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004 (2001), Napster was found to be contributorily guilty of copyright infringement.

A defense that they attempted is they weren't aware of it - which was thrown out on the basis that they should have, and could have, known that it was happening.

I'm not a lawyer, but you'll need to give a lot more information about the situation for liability to be determined. Oh, and also — both of them could be held liable. It's not necessarily a case of one or the other.

  • Thank you very much for your answer. I really appreciate it and everyone that contributed. One more question, sorry. Could they someone solve this issue and who is liable without going to court, like, over Skype (not just Skype, probably something else)? I have almost absolutely no background whatsoever. I know almost nothing about the subject. Jul 12 '15 at 1:36
  • It will depend on the jurisdiction (and whether it spans multiple jurisdictions) and the practicality of serving a summons on the person. These proceedings may not require the matter to be heard in court at all, depending on the parties' respective counsellors. These matters can, and often are, settled outside of court.
    – jimsug
    Jul 12 '15 at 1:39
  • Ok. Thank you for helping me. I really appreciate it. Jul 12 '15 at 1:40

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