CoStar v. LoopNet

On June 20 2006 EFF filed an amicus brief arguing that a battle between Internet real estate services over copyrighted images should not threaten the rights of users to surf webpages and send emails anonymously.

The case began when CoStar a real estate information database subpoenaed LoopNet an online real estate forum over copyrighted photographs that appeared on LoopNet's service. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals already rejected CoStar's direct copyright infringement claims against LoopNet. But now CoStar has demanded not only the identification of the uploaders of the offending images but also identification of "downloaders"—using a dangerously broad definition that includes both those who simply view the photos online and those who merely email links to the photos to others.

If upheld this subpoena would pierce the anonymity of virtually anyone who has ever received forwarded or clicked on a link to a webpage that happened at one time to contain a thumbnail of a photograph to which CoStar owns the copyright. The subpoena could serve as a dangerous precedent that any copyright holder could wield against users of countless websites and services including Google Amazon and eBay.

EFF's brief responds to CoStar's motion. Regardless of whether LoopNet has information on "downloaders " the chilling effect of this subpoena power would be severe threatening constitutionally protected rights of individuals to speak read and associate anonymously on the Internet.

On August 4 2006 a magistrate judge denied CoStar's demands on the grounds making it unnecessary to address EFF's arguments.

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Want to use your skills for good? Join the @EFF team to help defend the Internet and your rights online
https://www.eff.org/about/opp...

Feb 24 @ 12:46pm

With TPP's defeat, copyright lobbyists beeline for RCEP, but scholars weigh in with a different view. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Feb 24 @ 12:30pm

Have you renewed your EFF membership for this year? We could use your help. https://eff.org/renew

Feb 24 @ 12:09pm
JavaScript license information