MPAA: embedding an illegal video is copyright infringement

Apr 11, 2012
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You’re probably well aware of the MPAA and its crusade against movie piracy, but here's some of the latest shenanigans. ArsTechnica reports on the struggle between the MPAA and various internet bodies over whether or not embedding a video hosted by a third party can be considered copyright infringement. The MPAA believe that there shouldn’t be a legal distinction between hosting infringing content and embedding it, telling the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that both should carry a risk of direct copyright infringement.

The case that prompted the legal quandary belongs to MyVidster, a website that allowed you to bookmarks links to videos around the web and share them with friends. MyVidster also supported embedding, so you could watch the videos on their website directly while being served with myVidster adverts.

Pornography company Flava Works found numerous MyVidster pages that had their videos embedded, and sent DMCA takedown notices. MyVidster wasn’t hosting the videos, though, only embedding them from other sites. Despite MyVidster’s claims of complying with the DMCA notices anyway, Flava Works decided to take the matter to court, believing the video link sharing site was guilty of copyright infringement.

The MPAA has rallied behind Judge Grady’s decision in the case that MyVidster is responsible because the video was viewable via their website. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, believe there is legal precedent that distinguishes hosting videos from merely embedding them. A 2007 case ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lays out how only the server that hosts the infringing material is guilty of copyright infringement, and not servers that provide links to the content.


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