Linking To Unauthorized Content Is Copyright Infringement In The UK?
from the don't-link-to-this-site dept
A website based in the UK that linked to unauthorized versions of films and TV shows has been apparently shut down and the site’s creator has been arrested for “facilitation of copyright infringement.” This must be something similar to “inducing infringement” which is against the law in the US (as per the Supreme Court — not any written law as of yet). However, it does seem a little silly to go after this guy. As long as he wasn’t hosting any of the content and merely linking to it, it’s hard to see why he should be charged with anything. The people who are breaking the law are those who are actually uploading the content — yet in this day and age where so many people seem to think that it’s the easiest person or company to find that should be targeted, it’s no surprise that it’s being shut down, even as the actual infringing content is still just as available as it was before.
Comments on “Linking To Unauthorized Content Is Copyright Infringement In The UK?”
The website had become so popular that in the end the authorities had to act. Big shows like Heroes, Prison Break and Southpark tend to air months or even years after their original US dates (for example, we’re half way through season 1 of Heroes in the UK). Some never make it over.
UK TV networks invest huge amounts of cash to get these shows, yet a massive chunk of their potential audience got impatient and has already watched it. I’ve no doubt that people would pay good money to download these shows with reasonable quality over Amazon, yet that is (ironically) only available in the US.
Again a massive potential market goes un-tapped because we’re still waiting for business to catch up with innovation.
Very well said.
In most cases, though, the target audience for these bought-in shows are anybody who is stupid enough to actually buy something based on in-show commercials and not tech-savvy enough to skip those commercials. Thus, the mostly tech-savvy downloaders who do all their comparison shopping online shouldn’t really be losing them any revenue. 🙂
Re: Re: Re:
BBC commercials hang on some one pinch me
An idiot's way out
Ignore the legal mambo-jumbo. Drop the US approach to justice, and just look at things as they are.
There is a website.
Website’s only purpose of existance is to deliver (obviously illegal) coprighted content.
Method doesn’t matter.
I am not a big fan of copyright-police-organizations, but hiding behind lame legal-loophole excuses doesn’t help either side.
Re: An idiot's way out, wrong.
The website does NOT deliver (obviously illegal) content.
It only points the way, that is a difference.
As an example, when does the “facilitation by linking” end?
Should TechDirt also be held accountable?
After all they did help facilitate my ability to know of illegal content online. They did make knowledge available that I did not know before, knowledge that now lets me violate copyright. When does it end?
The answer is it ends when it stops.
Re: An idiot's way out
No, it isn’t. Not any more so than Google’s.
Could have fooled me.
Re: An idiot's way out
You could say the site was there to deliver illegal content.
Would your opinions change if the website had the title:
“Tv-links.co.uk. Helping the law find illegal content on YouTube”
Then they would be marketed as heroes of the industry, helping to sniff out those shows posted illegally.
Re: An idiot's way out
Drop the pseudo-lawyer Idiotic US-type responses.
Instead of arguing 2$ court-room logic, try thinking.
What is the real purpose of the site?
Stop thinking like wannabe lawyers and start thinking like people ffs.
Re: An idiot's way out
I don’t notice that the authorities arrested the management of Google or any other search engine. These sites link to content as well, and any idiot with an Internet connection can use them to find whatever he wants.
Just to point out that season 1 of Heroes finished months ago here in the UK when it was originally shown on the sci fi chanel. What we are halfway though is a repeat of season 1 but this time on BBC.
The internet may well loose any meaning
As I point out in my blog, if you link something, how can you be sure that what you’re linking is not infringing ? how can you be absolutely sure ?
Say that you think that what you’ve seen and linked is non-infringing. How can you be sure that tomorrow, in the same location, there will not be infringing content ?
The only way out would be a link-less web.
Should we accept this to help an ailing industry to survive ? Or rather they should innovate ?
Matteo, an Business Administration student from Bocconi University in Milan, has done some number-collecting from balance sheets of Viacom, Warner, News Corp, Disney and Universal, EMI, Sony BMG, Warner Music.
They are surely approximate and wrong (for example, they don’t take properly into account short-term currency variations, inflation, etc.) but nevertheless they make mee feel that when I’ll be ailing, I hope to be in as a shape as they are…
(graphs here for video http://tinyurl.com/26jt4l and here for music http://tinyurl.com/yrlw8o)
p.s. tv-links pointed to a large amount of perfectly legal content (i.e., for the vast majority of content in italian, the national broadcaster site was linked)
Where does it end?
Wait, what if I link to tv-links.co.uk?
Am I guilty of copyright infringement. Is techdirt?
How about if I link to a link to a list of sites that links to copywrited material like this?
Or if I just link to Google?
Just shows how impractical the concept of copywrite is in the digital age. Moral or not, it’s just not going to work.
They Sure Do Hate Promotion
I refuse to pay for cable. I refuse to pay to pipe so much garbage into my household and then wait for an entire season to watch a show.
Tv-Links was a great site to find out about TV shows/movies/anime. And then go buy the DVD set what was interesting. But since those TV shows can’t stand having someone else promote their goods, I will just go spend my disposable income elsewhere. It will be increasingly difficult for me to sample TV shows to figure out what to buy.
And it is a serious bummer, because my DVD collection of TV shows (legitimately purchased) was getting pretty large. Of course, I suspect that the studios want it this way. Pay first and find out after they have my money whether or not the show was worthwhile.
So lets all get sites hosted in Russia or Ukraine or Korea, then we can say what we like, and point at what we like. Be kind of strange if places like that end up as the bastions of free speech!
I agree with comment 2 to a point, however i dont see google getting raided/ arrested.
They link to everything.
I can honestly say that every time i have pirated anything, Google has been the start point.
Oh yeah, and good riddance to TV-Links, half of the stuff on that site was dead links. There are plenty more sites that do the exact same thing, and i am assuming their traffic will have increased substantially.
FACT and the UK government have done nothing to stop piracy, not one pirate work was hosted on that site.
I saw a link to their legal page on slashdot and it looked as if they had a lawyer write it , it went along the lines of: We dont host this material, we assume that all material posted to 3rd party sites has been cleared for use on those sites.
Google is different. Google is to big for the European pussies.
> As long as he wasn’t hosting any of the
> content and merely linking to it, it’s hard
> to see why he should be charged with anything.
More to the point, it’s this bizarre notion that since it’s done on the internet, there should be a whole different standard applied. If someone wrote a newspaper article about a bookstore that was providing bootleg copies of the latest “Harry Potter”, no one would think of holding the reporter liable for “inducing infringement” for telling people the name/location of the store. But for some reason telling people the location of infringing works on the internet is punishable.
More on this in the Guardian
Some good stuff on this subject in the Guardian’s stuff:
What about child pornography?
If someone linked to kiddie porn would you not agree that the authorities should go after the person who linked and the person who hosted it? And to say it isn’t the same thing is a lie. Both link to someone breaking the law. One is of something distributing child porn while the other is someone facilitating copyright infringement. The thing is people have come to expect to get their content for free and that comes from Radio and TV being a free way to view content. They get on the internet and expect to be able to do the same thing, but the laws don’t translate perfectly. Personally I think hosting shows on the internet should be legal, but it is not. And until that law is changed anyone who facilitates copyright infringement is breaking the law.
Re: What about child pornography?
If someone linked to kiddie porn would you not agree that the authorities should go after the person who linked…
…the person who hosted it?
Re: What about child pornography?
We’re talking about apples and oranges with this one.
Criminal offense vs civil offense.
As a side note:
Will libraries be prosecuted for a sign pointing to the photocopiers on-site?
Re: Re: What about child pornography?
They should be. In fact, the librarians at any library with a copy machine should all be arrested and the library shut down. Period.
It makes about as much sense as people suing google because you can find copyrighted material with their search engine.
Oh wait…they are.
“This must be something similar to “inducing infringement” which is against the law in the US (as per the Supreme Court — not any written law as of yet).”
Regarding the above “…not any written law as of yet.”
Rather a narrow and self serving description of the law if you exclude taking into account what the Supremes say. You are happy to quote the Supremes extensively if it is their description that infringement-is-not-theft. You were all about the Supremes Sony Betamax protection of anything as long is it had any low percentage of non-infringing usage.
One reading of MGM Grokster is that it adjusted the Sony Betamax standard to bring it forward to the current climate a bit.
So, let’s be consistent here about whether the Supremes matter in regards to setting standards that count in the legal arena.
Re: Misleading statement
Misleading? Is that not true?
Mike consistently acknowledges SCOTUS authority. Where’s the inconsistency?
Ridiculous! If this is Copyright Infringement than the majority of the web is equally guilty.
Down With Google
I guess Google’s in violation now as they linked to a site that provides copyrighted material illegally.
“Stop thinking like wannabe lawyers and start thinking like people ffs.”
puh-thetic, why dont you just say what you mean: “think like me you idiots”. You gave what you thought was a pithy synopsis and the “right” answer, and when people disagree for perfectly reasonable reasons (many listed above), you say they arent thinking like people?!?!?
Shohat’s delivery of his point may have been a little less than decent, but unfortunately, he is right. It is dishonest to claim that Google, Yahoo, and the like are guilty of the same thing as tv-links. The intent of tv-links, when you ignore the rationalizations made in previous comments, was to allow easy access to unauthorized copies of copyrighted material. Yes, other sites may link to such items inadvertently (i.e. Google/Yahoo crawling every site they can find), but those sites do not exist for the sole purpose of serving as a road map to illegal content.
“lame legal-loophole excuses”
That’s the strangest description of freedom of speech I’ve ever heard.
No, fortunately he is not right.
Oh I see. It’s not their actions that you believe constituted a crime, but what they were supposedly thinking. Otherwise known as “thought crime.”
It may not be their sole purpose, but if one looks at the searches conducted it becomes apparent that it is a large part of their purpose. They could accept reports of domains supposedly hosting any infringing content and filter those sites reported from all search results but they don’t.
– Oh I see. It’s not their actions that you believe constituted a crime, but what they were supposedly thinking. Otherwise known as “thought crime.”
It’s invalid to claim that intent should not be considered when deciding whether or not to condemn someone for their actions. If you’re a complete stranger walking past me, and I stretch in my seat and accidentally trip you, it’s unlikely I would be held accountable for potentiailly harming you. If it is well known that I find you to be a condescending and rude individual, and the exact same scenario plays out, I’m extremely likely to be condemned for potentially harming you.
The law is intended to judge people based on what they allowed their emotions guide them toward, so you can’t claim that intent is irrelevant. Don’t misunderstand me, however, as I am not claiming that anyone should be punished solely based on their intent – intent without action is not, and should not, be punishable. Whatever goes on in one’s head is their own business, and only when they begin to put things into motion based on their thoughts should their actions -and- intent be judged.
– It may not be their sole purpose, but if one looks at the searches conducted it becomes apparent that it is a large part of their purpose.
Not quite. The searches conducted on such services indicate the purpose for which people use the service, not the purpose of the service itself. It is similar to the point Mike has made numerous times: just because drug dealers use telephones to set up drug deals doesn’t mean the telephone company provides a criminal service. On the other hand, if the phone company offered a service touted as, “THE service for all your illegal narcotic drug dealings,” and it was (by some ridiculous feat) designed such that it facilitated nothing but illegal drug deals, then yes, the company should be held liable for it’s actions.
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Exactly. So just because people were using it for facilitating copyright infringement does not mean that was the purpose of the service itself.
This company wasn’t claiming to be for illegal activities. You are apparently unfamiliar with the case at hand.
Re: Re: Re:
The law is intended to judge people based on what they allowed their emotions guide them toward, so you can’t claim that intent is irrelevant. Huh? Hardly. People are convicted of crimes all the time with little or no regard as to their emotional state at the time. The only time I’ve been in front of a judge was to argue a traffic ticket and she didn’t inquire as to my emotional state at the time at all.