Intellectual Property

Secondary Liability

Secondary liability is imposed on one who did not commit the legal wrong directly, but is found responsible for encouraging, facilitating, or profiting from it.

Secondary liability is entirely based on common law.

For there to be secondary liability, there always has to be underlying direct liability for copyright infringement.

Contributory Infringement

Contributory infringement is imposed on one who has control over an unauthorized use.

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability is imposed on one who has the right and ability to supervise the infringing activity and has a direct financial interest in the activity.

Inducement Liability

A third, newer form of secondary liability is inducement liability.

[O]ne who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties. MGM Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.