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Is Embedding Infringement? MPAA Sues Two Sites

from the we-may-find-out dept

While we still need to wait for the end result of the YouTube/Viacom case to learn whether hosting infringing videos is infringement itself, there's another open question about whether or not linking to or embedding infringing videos is also infringing. It seems difficult to understand how it could be infringing, as it's no different than pointing someone to freely available content (and, technically, linking and embedding are no different at all -- it's just some HTML). The person (or computer) doing the linking or embedding has no idea whether the content being linked or embedded is infringing -- and it seems reasonable to believe that if it's available online, there's nothing wrong with linking to it.

Yet, here we have the MPAA suing two sites that both link to and embed various movies. The two sites in question, FOMD (Found Online Movie Database) and MovieRumor, don't host the movies themselves. They merely point people to various movies that are publicly available online. It would seem like a rather drastic stretch of copyright law to claim that is also infringement, but don't be too surprised at how this will be argued. The MPAA will play on emotional, rather than rational, arguments -- and it may actually work, given some similar cases in the past.

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Jul 2008 @ 9:54am

    No

    No, it's infringement nor should it be prosecuted. That doesn't stop the MPAA from continuing a pointless quest to destroy its own business.

    I can't remember the name of the site, but about 12 years ago, the MPAA successfully shut down a popular movie trailer site for copyright infringement. That's right, a site that showed nothing but *advertisements* for MPAA products, with ZERO costs to the MPAA itself was shut down, thus reducing exposure for said trailers.

    This just goes to show, despite their previous mistakes and those of their RIAA corporate brethren, they've learned nothing about the digital culture they wish to profit from.

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