Thursday, February 3, 2011

Are Streaming Movie Sites Legal? The Legality of Streaming Sites

The question of whether movie sites are legal is one that is often posed in Internet forums by site developers looking to make a quick buck. Obviously, it’s illegal to directly host copyrighted content if the person hosting it does not have a copyright license for it.

However, webmasters often try to get around copyright law by linking outside of their own site to a third party website—usually located in some hard-to-sue country like China or the Netherlands—and therefore never hosting any copyrighted content on their own site.

The problem with this is that even if a webmaster links to third party websites with copyrighted content, the webmaster is still infringing on a copyright in most jurisdictions. In the United States, there is no doubt that this constitutes contributory copyright infringement.

Contributory copyright infringement is the idea that even if someone doesn’t directly infringe on a copyright by broadcasting it or copying it themselves, they have assisted in infringing it somehow and are therefore still personally liable. By linking to infringing content on a third party website, website owners are assisting that third party in violating a copyright.

This same principle can be used to hold liable torrent indexing websites, P2P software, and affiliate programs which pay out cash for ads hosted on infringing sites.

So, if you’re wondering whether it’s legal to post streaming video sites, or whether it infringes on someone’s copyright, the answer is that it’s almost certainly a violation of a copyright, and you should seek some other, less risky source of online revenue.

And, even if it’s not for revenue, you still shouldn’t do it because the fact that you don’t make money off of blatant copyright infringement doesn’t mean that you’re not still liable.

No comments:

Post a Comment