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Copyright and terms of use question

 
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asculta
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 2:17 pm    Post subject: Copyright and terms of use question Reply with quote

Hello everybody Smile
I am new to this forum, and i really find it useful, thank you!

Quick question:
I own a website that is a collection of embeded videos from youtube. The videos are added by the sites users.
Every video has a link to a download page (not on my server), to a third party service that can convert the video.

As far as i know, youtube embedding is legal as long as the video you are linking to has been uploaded by its owner.

In our terms of use we have written that the users are not allowed to use the download section unless they are the video's legal owner.
Also we stated that we are not responsable for the users content, and if any of the videos embeded on our site was ilegally uploaded on youtube, we will remove it from our site (at a written request sent via email).

My question now is: are we breaking the law?

(we have over 30,000 videos)

Thank you in advance!
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Asculta,
It is worth prefacing these remarks by saying that the law in this area is still evolving - mostly as a result of court decisions - and much depends on the jurisdiction in which your server(s) are located. Let's assume that your server is based in the UK. Broadly speaking by just providing links to another site which actually hosts the videos, you are reasonably safe. You are acting broadly like Google, and any number of forums which provide signposts to content which may be of specific interest to their users/members.
The EC Directive on Ecommerce (brought into force in the UK by the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 ) provides ( in Regulation 17) immunity from liabilty for sites which act as mere conduits for internet services only while they are unaware that their content infringes copyright. Once a site host has been notified of alleged infringement they need to take steps to remove the content and to notify the poster in order that the poster may provide evidence that the disputed content does not infringe copyright. In other words pretty much what your site policy already says.
It is interesting that you use the word 'download' as opposed to streaming. Youtube of course streams video which means that the viewer is not making a permanent copy of the video (unless they use a third party program which does create a local (non-cache) copy). For services like the BBC's iPlayer, it is part of the usage terms that the service is for streaming only, and anyone who downloads and keeps a copy is in breach of the licence terms.
I'm sure you are aware that a very large amount of videos posted on Youtube do in fact infringe copyright, for either the visual or sound content, and their admin systems are highly atuned to the thousands of take-down notices they receive each day. See this recent thread for an example of this in action: http://www.copyrightaid.co.uk/forum/topic874.htm. This in turn could mean the embedded links on your site become dead.
So legally you are not doing anything wrong. But should some of your links attract the attention of the movie and music industries, you can expect some fairly bullying letters from lawyers representing these interests. Their tactics do not necessarily follow the letter of the law and will seek to intimidate you or your hosts if they suspect the content infringes their copyright. Should this occur, you need to seek professional legal advice.
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asculta
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey AndyJ, thanks for your reply Smile

As for what you said,
By "download" what i meant is that every page with an embeded song in it also has a link to a third party service from which they can download it directly. (not on my server)

In our terms of service we wrote that you can download it only if you own the material.

Is this against the law?
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK - just so I am clear about what you do: you host pages which contain links (embedded URLs) the other sites (such as YouTube) on which the actual tracks etc are hosted. And you say that only people who actually own the copyright in the tracks can use these links to access Youtube etc to download them.
On that basis I can't actually see why anyone who owned the posted material would come to your site in the first place. If you are doing this to cover your backside, I don't think you need to. It is, as things stand, perfectly legal to provide links to material on other sites without having to establish beforehand if the actual mateial is legally hosted there. And assuming that the track etc is hosted legally, then anyone can download or stream it; they don't need to be the owner. This is pretty much the same as a public library. The library pays a lending fee to the author, and any member of the public can go in and borrow the book legally.
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asculta
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, no Smile It's not what i meant.
What i am saying is that besides the embeded video on the page, i provide also a link to third party service that will allow the user to download the video in mp3 format.

Here's an example: let's say we have the song: U2 - With or without you.
In my page will be the embeded song, and also a link that will redirect the visitor to a page (not on my server) from where he can download the song in mp3 format.

Got it now? Smile
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that. Either way, nothing is actually stored on your site other than two links: one to a streaming site and one to a download site, so you are reasonably well protected by the 'mere conduit' provisions. Assuming the mp3 is on a cyber locker or torrent site, and is hosted there legally, anyone can download the mp3 track assuming they meet the terms and coditions of that site, so I don't think, strictly speaking, you need to put a caveat on your site. It's a bit like giving someone directions to the Post Office and saying 'Don't forget to look both ways before crossing the road' - helpful but not necessary.
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asculta
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i understand... thanks for your reply
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