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Copyrighted material embedded on page - who would be liable?

9:33 am on Aug 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have a website which allows users to create a 'homepage' with simple HTML. Many of the users choose to embed video (youtube etc) and audio via 3rd party embedded players.

Often I get complaints from people who are on the rampage trying to shut down any reproduction of material by people without the appropriate licenses etc, and whilst I agree that if people are breaking the law it's not right - but is it actually my responsibility to police the content as it is being pulled from a third party website? I always direct the complainants to the site or service which is actually hosting the material. That is the crux of it really - what is the definition of 'hosting'? And how far could it be taken - simply linking to other sites which then in turn contain copyrighted material?

Quite possibly with certain cases I would need a lawyer but just wondered what you guys think.



10:54 pm on Aug 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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'embedding' is more than simply linking; I'd suggest that it's pretty close to publishing.

That may not mean you need to actively 'police' your site.

But it almost certainly means that you need to act on complaints by copyright owners (or their agents).

In practice, it's only sensible: if they are chasing you, they are almost certainly going to chase YouTube etc., as well - making your embedding look pretty silly.

BTW, I'm not a lawyer etc., etc...