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Embedding copyrighted video is not infringement, rules Posner

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Judge Richard Posner overturned last year's preliminary injunction against video bookmarking site myVidster, finding that the site was neither committing direct nor contributory infringement. The case drew attention earlier this year, when Facebook and Google filed amicus briefs in support of myVidster while the MPAA sided with Flava Works.

flava works myvidster stock (1020)
flava works myvidster stock (1020)

Embedding copyright-infringing videos on your website isn’t in itself copyright infringement, ruled 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner. The defendant in the case, the unfortunately-named myVidster, lets its users bookmark videos on other sites which they can then view through video embeds on myVidster. The bookmarking function works in much the same way as many other sites, like content curation site Pinterest, for instance. A year ago the company was hit with a preliminary injunction against linking to porn company Flava Works’s copyrighted videos, but Posner overturned the ruling on Thursday, saying that because "myVidster doesn’t touch the data stream" (i.e., it doesn’t host the infringing videos, just links to files elsewhere on the internet) it isn’t infringing Flava Works’s copyrights, or even "encouraging or assisting" whatever infringement is occurring.

The news is great for myVidster, but University of Santa Clara law professor Eric Goldman is doubtful of its precedent-setting capability, citing procedural defects in the opinion. He remarked, "it’s a big win for myVidster and less helpful for everyone else." The case drew attention earlier this year, when Facebook, Google, the EFF, and Public Knowledge filed amicus briefs in support of myVidster while the MPAA sided with Flava Works.