Last week, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a copyright infringement suit against Amazon because Amazon had no control over the actual infringer’s conduct. In Routt v. Amazon.com, Inc., Routt filed suit against Amazon alleging, inter alia, that certain Amazon associates used her copyrighted photographs without permission and that Amazon should be held vicariously liable for the associates’ conduct because Amazon had a right to monitor its associates’ websites and terminate the account of any associate who infringed on another’s copyright. The Ninth Circuit refused to hold Amazon vicariously liable because Routt failed to allege anything suggesting that an infringing associate could not continue infringing Routt’s copyrighted images even after Amazon terminated the relationship. In other words, unless Amazon had the ability to put an immediate end to the associate's infringement, it could not be held vicariously liable for the associate’s conduct.
Routt v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. 13-35237 (9th Cir. Aug. 29, 2014).