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CNET and CBS sued for promoting mass piracy

Two of the biggest web sites on the planet are being hauled before a Los Angeles Federal Court accused of promoting piracy on a massive scale.

The 'coalition of artists in music and film', which includes such media luminaries as Diamond Blue from Pretty Ricky and Trisco Smith from Force MD (no idea here either, try Google) have teamed up with billionaire film producer Alki David and some bloke who collects toys called Mike Mozart, to accuse CNET and CBS Interactive of widespread copyright infringement.

The suit, which also names the companies behind Limewire as a defendant, insists that the accused outfits were responsible for billions of illegal downloads of music and other media because they hosted and promoted peer to peer (P2P) clients like Limewire and Frostwire.

"Illegal file sharing through LimeWire has caused enormous damage to everyone who is trying to make a living in the entertainment community," said David. "As more and more artists join this lawsuit, it will become the most significant copyright infringement lawsuit in history. My ultimate hope is that this lawsuit will ensure that huge corporations like CBS Interactive and CNET do not profit from these wrongful activities at the expense of hard-working artists."

The two web sites mentioned in the suit are accused of hosting more than 220 million downloads of Limewire, allegedly 95 per cent of the total number distributed before the operation was shut down as the result of a recent court order.

CNET and CBS Interactive have also been accused of being a 'major source' of less popular P2P clients including Frostwire which has been downloaded more than 32 million times.

In a blog posting, Mozart admits that, although file sharing software is not in itself illegal, promoting its use specifically to infringe copyrighted material is.

"Sumner Redstone, owner of CBS, CBS Interactive and CNET/ZDnet is a long time member of the MPAA through Paramount Pictures," he writes. "The same MPAA that has supported strict Laws against online piracy and lobbied for the exact laws that have been used to win expensive court judgements against single moms and families for millions of dollars for downloading Songs.

"Those exact same laws are now being applied to CNET [and] CBS Interactive part of Sumner Redstone's media empire. CBS Interactive and CNET now needs to explain to the world why they distributed this software and openly promoted its use to infringe copyrighted works."