Monday, October 22, 2007

TV-Links website owner arrested

Thanks to Glyn at ORG for the pointer to this: TV Links shut down for linking

The guy that runs the TV links website has been arrested after FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) encouraged the Gloucestershire police to get involved.
"Sites such as TV Links contribute to and profit from copyright infringement by identifying, posting, organising, and indexing links to infringing content found on the internet that users can then view on demand by visiting these illegal sites," said a spokesman for Fact.
Jack Scofield wonders why they didn't go after the folks actually hosting the copyright infringing material.
"Is the message that it's less criminal to host illegal content on YouTube than it is to to link to it from a site such as TV Links? Or is it just that FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) and the police won't tackle anybody with enough high-powered lawyers to fight back? Is The New Freedom blog correct in saying: "They just have so much money that they have become above the law."

Of course, there is a difference between building a site around links to content that could be presumed to lack copyright clearance and linking unintentionally from a site set up for a different purpose. However, I'm not a lawyer so I don't know how significant this is. (Is shoplifting OK if you have a proper job but criminal if you're unemployed and starving?)...

Indeed, if linking is illegal, we might as well shut down the Internet, because there is no practical way anybody can guarantee the legality of what's on the end of any link. Even if you could guarantee it at the time of linking, there's no guarantee it would still be legal less than a second later, or for the rest of time."
Of course, like the Communications Decency act in the US, the ECommerce directive in the EU protects services that host illegal content when they don't have "actual knowledge" of the presence of that specific material on their servers. So the onus is on the content industry to let them know and then they are obliged to take the files down or face m'learned friends for the complainant.

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