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
    Aceswild13, 4 Aug 2008 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Search Engines

    I am in total agreement with mogilny. Okay.... okay so yes it suck that the movie industry does lose some customers base by having the pirated movies online..... but if i am not mistaken movies are still breaking records even though these sites are available. Should google be sued for showing the links to these websites. I was an avid user of and still go to the movies. most th movies i watch are movies i would NEVER pay to see.. but had nothing better to so with my time. The sites in question do not send people to theaters to record these films but only offer you a direct link to sites that host these films.
    I do not believe you should hold these "movie search engines" responsilbe.
    The creators of these sites are genusis, they see a demand on the internet, and provide a service that makes it simple for a dimwitted user such as myself. It is a simple suppy and demand.
    If we hold these sites responsible then we must also hold anyone listing these sites responsible, Such as; google,, AOL, etc.

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