The Motion Picture Association of America is squaring off against a coalition of Internet giants and public interest groups over the key question of whether it's possible to directly infringe copyright by embedding an image or video hosted by a third party.
A federal judge took that position last July, prompting a chorus of criticism. Two briefs—one by Google and Facebook, the other by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge—attacked the decision as contrary to past precedents and potentially disruptive to the Internet economy. They asked the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn it.
Last week, the MPAA joined the fray with a brief in support of Illinois federal judge John F. Grady's ruling. It urged the Seventh Circuit not to draw a legal distinction between hosting content and embedding it. In the MPAA's view, both actions should carry the risk of liability for direct copyright infringement.
URLs, as outbound links (OBLs), are arguably static but the contents of the files the OBLs reference or the destination site's URL structure itself may not be static. For example, a webmaster can swap images "in a file" (URL) while maintaining the same URL/file name.
That being the case must all websites, at the risk of being sued if some change is made to the externally hosted image, now continuously monitor all externally hosted images and videos?
I would say yes if liability can attach merely by virtue of linking to an image at its source.
What if the URL "goes bad" (file deleted, corrupted, renamed, etc.) and the external system redirects to a new image? I get dinged/sued if the new redirected image/video file has copyright problems?