Fox, the big media company, is apparently forcing a website owner to shutdown a website for linking to TV shows that have been uploaded to sites such as YouTube or Dailymotion. The company claims that linking to those shows is illegal.
This question never made it to court before it seems - here we have it again. A big company with money enough to pay a dozen lawyers is suing a website owner who probably can't afford to even hire one lawyer.
Now. What would you do? Would you fight for the chance to win this uphill battle risking everything you got in the course of it? Or would you give in although you may have every right to link to those websites and shows? It is indeed a difficult question and I'm really not sure how I would react if I would face such a situation.
Would you personally say that linking to a movie on YouTube for instance is illegal if the movie itself has been illegally uploaded to the site? Would not it make more sense to sue YouTube instead - they are hosting the content, or the uploader who uploaded it to the site?
So, why didn't they sue Google or the uploader instead? Could it be that Google has enough money to hire even more lawyers who would defend their site? Could it be that Fox is not interested in a ruling at all?
Other organizations, the RIAA for instance, uses the same strategy to sue people. If you are facing fines in the millions and a company that has access to vast resources and an army of lawyers, you may be hard pressed to go against it in court.
The main question however is the following: If it is indeed illegal to link to illegal content why aren't they suing the search engines? What if a website changes content and has now something illegal on their site? Do webmasters have to check all the sites that they link to every day to make sure there is nothing hosted on them that could get them in trouble?
Where will this end? Can they sue me if I talk to someone in person and tell him that he should search for Simpsons on YouTube to find and watch the latest episodes? What if someone does not link directly to the shows but to a search results page? Still illegal? What if he writes down the name that his visitors should search for and links only to the main address of the video hosting site? Still illegal? Where does it end?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.