MPAA Sues Sites For Linking To Infringing Content

from the just-a-link dept

It's amazing how badly the entertainment industry wants people to believe that anything they don't like must be illegal. There's already a long history of them suing the easiest party for them to find rather than the party actually breaking the law, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise to see them doing so again. Apparently the MPAA has sued some sites that create a directory of online videos, mainly TV shows and movies. These sites do not host the files. They simply point people to where they are online. Effectively, it's the same thing that a search engine like Google does. There are plenty of Google searches that will lead you to unauthorized content, but for some reason, the entertainment industry believes that if you make a specialized search engine or directory you're somehow liable. These sites have come under attack before, and the MPAA may be hoping that by creating a specialized search engine they'll be able to show "inducement" under the Supreme Court's Grokster standard. It will definitely be worth watching how these court cases go, because if the MPAA succeeds, it effectively means that they'll have the right to sue anyone who links to infringing content by claiming inducement. That would be a horrible precedent to set.


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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 6:16pm

    The precedent has already been set

    Remember Napster? That was shut down because it was providing a directory of links to infringing content. And the injunction on 2600 magazine preventing it from linking to sites hosting the DeCSS code?

    In other words, no surprise if this lawsuit succeeds as well.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 6:38pm

      Re: The precedent has already been set

      I am not aware of any final court ruling in the Napster case. I believe it was settled out of court. If you're point then is that they may be bullied by a lawsuit (and not whether what they are doing is legal or not) you may be right. Sadly lawsuits are a tactical business technique instead of a tool of justice.

      As for 2600, they were not indexing content (it wasn't a 'search' service).

      Re-iterating the OP, I can see no reason how they can be treated differently (in a legal sense) from Google's search engine.

       

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      memory hole, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 6:15am

      Re: The precedent has already been set

      Apparently, the Napster thing has gotten lost in the memory hole. Napster was shut down because it HOSTED infringing content, on it's own servers. That's exactly why they were unable to win a case, because they were DIRECTLY infringing. Napster was NOT a directory of links to infringing content.

       

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    Shay, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 6:31pm

    Not the whole story

    The part that is not mentioned in this article is that these sites are making large amounts of money through advertising on their sites. This is how they are being held liable for infringement/inducement. It's not a good business plan to base your income on linking to known infringing content. Google searches the net, these sites profit by making illegal content easier to find (like napster and grokster).

     

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      Mike (profile), Jun 27th, 2007 @ 7:56pm

      Re: Not the whole story

      The part that is not mentioned in this article is that these sites are making large amounts of money through advertising on their sites. This is how they are being held liable for infringement/inducement. It's not a good business plan to base your income on linking to known infringing content. Google searches the net, these sites profit by making illegal content easier to find (like napster and grokster).

      I don't see how that's relevant. They're still not the ones breaking the law. If I'm an ISP and you're hosting illegal content on one of my servers I'm not liable. It's that simple. You're the one who is liable... EVEN IF I'm making tons of money through you paying for the service.

      It has nothing to do with profitability.

      It has everything to do with who is actually liable.

       

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      ChurchHatesTucker, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 9:11pm

      Re: Not the whole story

      It's not a good business plan to base your income on linking to known infringing content.

      If you link to content these days, it's ALL under copyright. Suprisingly, many of these 'protected' works actually want to be linked to. So, how do you tell them apart?

      That, to my mind, is the faustian deal that the content squatters got into when they pushed for opt-out copyright. Everything they create (or, more often, obtain) becomes sacrosanct. Fine, but the burden then falls to them to police it. Suprisingly, that became a drain. Unsuprisingly, they then try to outsource that as well.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 7:32pm

    making large amounts of money

    Dear poster #2
    First of all, I don't believe you, personally, have any idea how much money they are making or losing. If you do know, how about letting us in on how you got the knowledge.

    According to your argument, would it be legal if they were losing huge amounts of money?

    Like Mike said, it's like Google, dude.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 8:37pm

    Down with the MPAA !!!!

     

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    me, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 8:20am

    Napster

    I don't believe that Napster is a good comparison, it provided a METHOD to retrieve the "infringing content", this is simply a listing of where you can find what you are searching for.

    RIAA doesn't sue google cause they have enough money and press to shut them up and show YET AGAIN that RIAA is simply on a wild chase, picking off the easiest targets.

     

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    SM, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    Google

    I'm fairly certain that as we speak, these guys are dreaming up a way to sue Google for the same thing.

     

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