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.

Filed Under: copyright, embedding, fair use, legal issues, linking
Companies: fomd, movierumor, mpaa

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  1. identicon
    Player911, 30 Jul 2008 @ 11:07am


    Most videos have watermarks with the original creators logo.

    I think what most of this is referring to is ripping off movie clips and posting it. One example of this are sites like porntube, where posters are taking copyrighted material and creating minute streams, then uploading them to a public medium. That process becomes illegal once you copy the source.

    But simply taking a youtube video and creating a blog post saying, "Hey check out this funny video"... is perfectly fine. In fact it is encouraged to provide web traffic to their site. Most video's even provide the embedded code once the video ends.

    I don't know why the MPAA or RIAA are even allowed to operate. All they do are harass citizens of this country. They are so money hungry to feed their own pockets that they don't care what they do. Obviously these guys haven't the least amount of knowledge about how the internet world works. The internet has grown popular because it is free and open source. Anything on the web should become common knowledge that it would be freely available to anyone.

    You don't put something on the web that you don't want used. If the someone wants their video secured to their name, then overlay a watermark or adhere a small icon on the corner of the video like all so many television stations do.

    I think the MPAA and the RIAA are a bunch of old men who can't even figure out how to set the clock on their VCR's, let alone control the distribution of digital media across a global network.

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