May 05, 2011, 7:30 AM — Rappers sue CBS over Limewire, proving that it's all about the benjamins
CBS finds itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit from members of 2 Live Crew, The Force MDs, and the Ying Yang Twins, because CBS owns CNet and CNet owns Download.com, and Download.com has a page where you can download LimeWire. On the face of it, this seems even more ridiculous than most stories involving 2 Live Crew. Why sue CBS, the outermost matryoshka doll in this corporate conglomeration, instead of Lime Group LLC, the company more or less responsible for LimeWire?
Well, there's the little matter of the fact that Lime Group has already had the daylights sued out of it. A lot of geeks, used to the more linear and logical world of computers, think of the law as being more straightforward than it is in practice -- if someone's violating your legal rights, go after the lawbreaker. But lawsuits, especially big corporate lawsuits, cost a lot of money to conduct, and CBS right now is a fatter, juicier target than some beat-up technology company. One assumes that the money CNet makes from banner ads on Download.com (the ostensible motive for the lawsuit) is minimal, but the copmany as a whole has a tidy bank account.
It's the same reason that Oracle is suing Google instead of the Apache Foundation, despite all the ASF code in Android; the Apache Foundation is getting subpoenaed, but they don't have the resources to make a lawsuit. Heck, it's the same reason that those patent trolls sued Google over Linux, rather than every other Linux user on the planet. Lawsuits are attracted by both legal violations and money, in combination.
As of this writing Download.com defiantly continues to offer LimeWire for download (see screenshot), which means that bootleg compies of the Yin Yang Twins' Chemically Imabalanced continue to be downloaded with impunity.