A software developer receives a Content Infringement complaint against his app, which facilitates video downloads from YouTube. The software developer believes he is not responsible for the act of someone who downloads videos without permission of the IP owner.

My Question is: How can the developer get rid of such IP complaints, by specifying any statements of disclaiming? This answer does not help me.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because It isn't about the law as much as it is about the policies of the app store in question. – Jason Aller Sep 16 '18 at 18:15
  • You need to distinguish between software developer and publisher. It's unlikely that the developer would be responsible, most likely it would be the publisher. – gnasher729 Sep 18 '18 at 7:53

Liability for copyright infringement can arise directly or vicariously.

A person can be direct liable if he personally makes an unauthorized copy of someone else's protected work. A third party can also be held liable for that infringement if he has knowledge of the infringing activity and makes a material contribution to the infringing activity.

If an app is basically only good for downloading YouTube videos, the vast majority of which are protected, a court will likely infer that the app was made for the purpose of facilitating copyright violations. That was basically what happened with Grokster, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that Grokster was liable for all the copyright infringement happening through its app: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913 (2005).

The best way for the developer to get rid of the IP complaints is probably to disable the app.

  • I was thinking of adding a statement like this "This app is not intended to download any copyright contents. You must obtain proper permissions from corresponding owner to download such videos.". Will it be useful in cases like this? – Mg Bhadurudeen Sep 16 '18 at 6:47
  • @MgBhadurudeen probably not. – phoog Sep 16 '18 at 9:28
  • The more important question is what it is intended for. If a court concludes that it's intended to generate profits by facilitating copyright violations, that's going to be a problem. – bdb484 Sep 16 '18 at 15:06
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    @MgBhadurudeen Even if your app is not infringing, app stores have policies which allow them to remove any apps which they believe are against their rules, which are quite broad. It doesn't matter if other similar apps are allowed, because there's nothing requiring app store administrators to apply their rules fairly. – Brandin Sep 17 '18 at 3:49

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