Can A Link, By Itself, Be Copyright Infringement?

from the someone-please-explain dept

A report in Billboard Magazine mentions that the IFPI and the MPA (the global versions of the RIAA and the MPAA respectively) have successfully been able to get ISPs in Mexico to take down 35 blogs which they say contributed to music and movie piracy. Specifically, they charge that the blogs had thousands of "infringing links." Of course, that leads to a rather obvious question: what the hell is an "infringing link"? Is it a link to infringing content? If so, then Google and pretty much any search engine is equally guilty. Simply linking to something, by itself, is not and should not be considered infringement.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: blogs, copyright infringement, links, mexico
Companies: ifpi, mpa, mpaa, riaa

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Michael, 23 Feb 2009 @ 11:26am


    I'm divided on this my self.

    There are straw-men arguments that can be made but really look at the real facts. A link is just a pointer to where information of some kind -may- exist.

    Does knowing that information may be somewhere violate laws? It shouldn't.

    Does telling someone else that information might be at a location you know about violate laws? I don't see how it should.

    Does getting information that has been granted a temporary monopoly on duplication by your government from someplace violate laws? It probably does.

    A more interesting question: If you download something without knowing what it is, and find out it's something you didn't want, (and delete it) have you violated the law?

    Que sensational but somewhat plausible example:

    What if that automatically happens when you open an HTML email? Which some foreign group looking to cause disruption sent out through a spam-bot net so that hundreds of thousands of innocent people would 1) see child porn. 2) be logged as having seen said porn before the server was scheduled to be raided.

    (The above argument is why I default to plain text email.)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.