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
    Michael Long, 30 Jul 2008 @ 11:42am

    Infringing...

    The person (or computer) doing the linking or embedding has no idea whether the content being linked or embedded is infringing.

    First, it would almost certainly have to be a person, since the front page of one site shows titles, descriptions, correctly sized copies of the movie posters, PLUS the links to the "infringing" content.

    Second, are you positing that the site owners are idiots, and completely and totally unaware that The Dark Knight, X-Files, Hancock, and Wall-E are not under copyright and are not in the public domain?

    Third, movierumor.com tells people to "WATCH free [sic] movies online!" It offers no commentary, reviews, or other features, sans linking to the ENTIRE film, and further, does so for profit, as it places advertisements on the page of THEIR site where users watch the movie.

    Since they're willingly and knowingly ripping people off for fun and profit, I say let 'em get sued.

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