Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Karen Horowitz


To date, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has become increasingly tough on the illegal downloading of copyrighted materials. In light of the increased prevalence of suits against minors or persons with little ability to pay, individuals or institutions that provide the means for the infringing activities, such as guardians or network owners (including, for example, the owner of an unsecured home network or the owner of an Internet café), need to be aware of the potential liability they might face. To place liability upon an individual or institution providing Internet access, a plaintiff could file suit for indirect copyright infringement under the doctrines of vicarious liability, contributory infringement, or inducement. Alternatively, to receive damages from the guardian of a minor child, the plaintiff could file suit against the minor child and attempt to satisfy any judgment from that claim through state parental liability statutes. This Article will discuss these approaches to liability and the risks facing these classes of actors.

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