Contributory and Vicarious Liability

This lesson examines the two types of secondary liability in copyright law -- contributory infringement and vicarious liability. Before attempting this lesson, students should be familiar with the exclusive rights that belong to a copyright owner, and should understand the concept of direct infringement. Note: This lesson was written while the Supreme Court was still considering MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., cert. granted, 125 S. Ct. 686 (2004), the outcome of which may alter the standard for contributory infringement.

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Contributory and Vicarious Liability

Lesson Completion Time

30 minutes plus 15-minute essay

Lesson Authors