EBay survives Grateful Dead suit

Judge clears the way for illegal bootlegs to be flogged online

A US court Wednesday dismissed a case that attempted to make auction site eBay legally responsible for the sale of illegal recordings on its site.

A fan of rock band The Grateful Dead brought the suit, claiming that illegal recordings made of the group in concert should not be sold on eBay. He argued that by making such material available eBay's was behaving in a manner that would be unacceptable for a high street retailer.

The judge threw out the case, citing the Communications Decency Act which dictates that a computer service provider cannot be held liable for the speech of others.

Judge Pollak ruled that the plaintiff's attempt to impose responsibility on eBay was no different from the unsuccessful attempts that have been made to hold computer service providers liable as distributors rather than publishers of defamatory or pornographic materials.

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