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Interesting judgement. The judge ruled that the guy was breaking copyright because he linked directly to a media file.
Critics, including Google copyright lawyer, think the judge dosen't know what he's talking about.
Wonder if this will get overturned?
The stream was not embedded in the page in any way, it was just a link. If there's something wrong with that then it means that if I find any audio file on the web and give you the link to it I am infringing upon copyright.
Let's say you built a web page that was simply a list of links to audio files that are sitting on my server. Your visitors then click on the links and download the audio and think "gee, that sure was nice of vvv to offer all of these audio files on his site". And maybe you have some Adsense ads sitting next to these links that these visitors occasionally click on, and maybe your PR goes up because you're offering somebody else's audio files on your web page for free.
Is the situation described above something you would approve of? I'm not saying it's an issue of copyright infringement, just that it is not the right thing to do.
In my opinion, whether a media file is embedded into a web page or pops up in a new window it is still hotlinking.
Send your visitors to the content owner's web page, not directly to their media files.
can you tell me which law makes it illegal?
It's not the linking that is illegal, but causing the video to play through that link. It's a very fine point, and it's part of general copyright principles.
It's the same as: I want to do a seminar and play a DVD movie (which I bought and legitimately own) to make a point about leadership). Despite the fact that I OWN the DVD, and don't copy anything at all, the "performance" of this DVD in a public venue is a violation of copyright.
Because I do not own the RIGHTS to cause it to be performed in public.
It's the same if I want to play copyrighted music.
This performance principle is well established, and has been enforced (sometimes with large penalities determined by the courts).
You say it's different than google because you can control google with robots.txt or htaccess but not hotlinkers.
Well THAT is my point.
You're basically saying it's okay for google because I left the door unlocked by not keeping them out with robots.txt.
I say just because I didn't lock my door doesn't mean they can come in and take my stuff.
It's a very slippery slope, but with google images, what are they doing that is so different?
The guy linked to the file, but the file was playing FROM THE ORIGINATOR'S WEBSITE!
So google can use it if for instance it was an image file instead of media because the guy didn't deny google access to it, but the other website cannot?
Do I need to put a sign in my yard with the names of every person in the United States on it saying they cannot come in and if I leave someone off, are they then welcome to anything in my garage?
People who compare this to television or any other media broadcast need to have their perspectives re-arranged, and are missing almost entirely the nature of the web (which is the fallacy in this judge's head).
Browsing ANY webpage, listining to ANY stream or media content by definition indicates that it is being downloaded unto one's computer. If someone freely and clearly wishes to have their content viewed by people, they are, by definition, stating the desire for people to download this information.
How the downloaders use this information IS protected by copyright. But someone else hotlinking to any such information for the purpose of downloading is doing nothing but providing another method in which the original releaser's desire is being fulfilled.
By that rationale, if you create a new browser that does nothing but download streams from webpages and provides the rest in text format, is that considered copyright violation? Certainly not. Firefox and IE display webpages in different methods... does that give people the right to sue them for copyright violation (by the same premise that they are serving their content in a way that is arbitrated by the browsers, not the way the original author intended)
Only the uninformed can loosely conclude that this is infringement from the perspective that "he's stealing my bandwidth and i'm not getting money from those impressions!". That has nothing to do with copyright.
Hotlinking is nothing different than another method of "browsing". It is your job to prevent other "browsers" from serving your stuff in a manner you do not want.
if you make it readily available for "browsing", then it is going to be browsed in ways you can't control.
Tickets.com, a seller of tickets, was sued for linking to pages on Ticketmaster's website where users could find tickets not available at Tickets.com. The US District Court for the Central District of California concluded: "hypertext linking [without framing] does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act … since no copying is involved."
That court went on to describe the process of hypertext linking: "The customer is automatically transferred to the particular genuine web page of the original author. There is no deception in what is happening. This is analogous to using a library's card index to get reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently."
Then the article writer says:
However, if an appeal is heard, unless Davis's site made clear that the target file was being served by another website, SFX may be able to distinguish its circumstances from those of Ticketmaster.
--and that's being said by someone whose article seems to basically be on Davis's side.
The distinction [without framing] is an important one. Since it's in brackets, I'm assuming the author added it to boil down a lot of previous text. The Tickets.com case - at least what's reported of it in the article - seems to be about causing harm through deception (or, actually, about not doing so). Thus the [without framing] distinction. This case allows deep linking as long as it isn't deceptive.
If site A created the recording and held the copyright, site B was using it with permission (e.g., through a licensing agreement), then site C takes it from site B without permission (from either site A or site B), I don't believe site B could sue for copyright infringement - site A would have to do that. But I don't think that means site B couldn't sue on other grounds. If we use the judge's analogy, the NFL owns the copyright, NBC is licensed to show it, and someone else gets hold of NBC's recording and shows it publicly, claiming to be the license holder and inserting their own ads where NBC's would be. NBC wouldn't be able to sue for copyright infringement, but couldn't they still sue for damages?
[edited by: Beagle at 9:45 pm (utc) on Jan. 25, 2007]
This case is entirely different to someone who 'embed's or otherwise causes the stream to be displayed as a seamless part of his or her website - this case is about giving the public the URL to an audio stream. It's important not to comfuse the two.
Two more points in favour of the linker:
1. There is a rather perverse logic in suggesting it is better to link to the HTML page on the owners site rather than to the stream itself. The HTML page may well change and link to newer content, really confusing visitors.
2. The entire purpose of a URL is to allow access to content - if it is not intended to be accessed via the URL then there is no need to use one. It remains entirely possible to stream audio or video directly from a server without using a URL. I suggest the fact that a URL was created for the content means that the owner is deliberately providing the means of direct access to that content.
What of the future? How can this be enforced, and what will the penalties be.
Will this issue be addressed in a revision of DMCA?
Will there be a clear distinction between video / audio media and written content? (i.e. will it be ok to link to a page of text rather than a video file?)
I believe that this ruling will stand because of the way people think about media delivery (a broadcast model), but how it's going to be enforced is another matter!
I think what this comes down to, for me, is that if this guy is breaching copyright then it means it is illegal to tell someone the URL for an audio or video stream. That's a pretty major thing to say.
perhaps you can explain why this is hotlinking and not plain ordinary linking?
He allowed the file to be played directly from his site, without acknowledging the copyright owner & depriving the owner the opportunity to receive revenue for their property. Whether it was "embedded" or not is irrelevant. I'd personally call it hotlinking but that is irrelevant too.
It certainly isn't simply deep-linking. The judge seems to "understand the internet" better that the author of that article.
the guy was breaking copyright because he linked directly to a media file
Great news. Absolutely fantastic. Terrific!
Regardless of what some people think about their interpretation of the copyright and the "nature of the Web" - this ruling was long overdue.
Hotlinking is all about displaying content that I own and provide to my users on a web site designed and controlled by me. I did not ask for additional ways to distribute that content. I do want to keep control over where and how that content appears. I do not want to see my content presented to visitors out of context, e.g. on an ugly Myspace page, possibly next to ads where the hotlinking site gets paid for, directly or indirectly.
And no, I am not responsible for dis-allowing access to the media files, because this is not how copyright works. The copying/hotlinking site needs to seek permission.
So, yes, I am all in favor of this ruling! I see some nice lawsuits coming up. :-)
and you have to dissallow their bot ..or accept that they do it ..serps is one thing ..cache with their branding is rip off hotlinking ..and brings you no traffic ..but cost you bandwidth ..the images and media are pulled live from your server every time cache is veiwed they are pulled again ..they only cache the html part on their servers ..
edited for clarity
[edited by: Leosghost at 4:22 pm (utc) on Jan. 26, 2007]
Did he really just link to the file or did he embed the file via a link on his site?
From [news.com.com ]
He did stress that he merely included a "hyperlink, which launches the visitor's media player"
That's not hot-linking in the strict sense of the term, but the effect is largely the same: it uses the other guy's bandwidth without sending the visitor to his site.
Now, when another asks me to take down a link to their site, I'm polite enough to take it down. Still, it seems like technical solutions would have been much easier (and cheaper) for the plaintiff than the lawsuit. Someone should tell him that a good webmaster is cheaper than a law firm.
I do not have a problem with the way Google approaches this topic. Actually I would allow their bot in the second they ask for it. :-)
But I do have a lot of problems with other sites (i.e. other than the big guys) hotlinking and ripping off my content. Many of these do not even link back to my site. They do not bring traffic, so why allow it?
In the internet circles I'm a part of it's neccessary to include press releases verbatim. A good many of those releases include links to files containing a full copy of the legal script for download. Although I can (and must) copy the article verbatim when passing along the press release I am not allowed to make a copy of the download available from my site. It too must remain on the originating site and its link must stay intact. This ruling would constitute two ships colliding in the night so to speak.
I'm positive this wouldn't be the only case out there where two laws directly contradict on these matters.
This ruling would constitute two ships colliding in the night so to speak.
Since the content owners are asking you to do this it sounds like you have permission to link to those documents.
Davis did not have permission and the content owner did not want him linking directly to their audio stream.
Had he sent them to their web page instead it probably would have been a different story.