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. identicon
    Wesley, 30 Jul 2008 @ 11:44am

    Re: Linking vs Embedding

    @ Michial:
    "Embedding content into your own content is no different than taking someone's professional photo and including it into a flyer or pamphlet or even your own book. Without their permission you are in violation of the Copyrights. I'd think that this same type of violation would carry over to embedding the content on your website"

    Not quite an accurate analogy. What you described is actual infringement, using someone else's material as if it were your own. What is happening is a reference to someone else's material is being presented as being infringing. In which case every encyclopedia ever written would be just one large pile of copyright infringements. (Not the pictures etc in the encyclopedia, but any reference to any copyrighted material. It's like suing over someone saying you should go check out the Mona Lisa, it's an awesome piece of art.)

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