A discussion with the editor of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel about the difficulties that a plaintiff in a copyright infringement action may face when attempting to establish that a defendant had access to his work through widespread dissemination via the Internet.
At this time, there are few published cases addressing the question of what constitutes widespread dissemination of a work that is posted on the Internet. The majority of those cases involve a one-time posting on a website, which courts uniformly have held is not sufficient to show that work has been widely disseminated.
As methods of sharing content continue to evolve, the number of plaintiffs alleging that a defendant accessed his or her work through the Internet or similar, non-traditional channels likely will also increase. Case law has already indicated what type and amount of evidence may be relevant in establishing widespread dissemination through Internet and mobile-based platforms. As courts encounter more of these types of fact patterns, plaintiffs and defendants will gain a better understanding of what kinds of evidence may be relevant in establishing widespread dissemination and what degree of exposure is required in order to withstand a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment.