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RE: Arrested - re: TAG ISSUE-25 deep linking

From: Joshua Allen <joshuaa@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 16:48:44 +0000
To: Aaron Swartz <me@aaronsw.com>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
CC: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Message-ID: <C6E8C495D6BA384B9CF76B7565E2F17202764C4B@TK5EX14MBXC217.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
Why wouldn't this be hotlinking?  ChannelSurfing is embedding PirateMan's copy of media.  However, I thought hot linking to copyrighted material is legal.  Publishers have recourse to block hot linking, if they don't want people doing it.  The only violation in this case would be PirateMan's.

Penalizing linking, whether hot-linking or otherwise, is a terrible idea.  We need to educate publishers about how to use the Web architecture properly.


-----Original Message-----
From: www-tag-request@w3.org [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Aaron Swartz
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2011 8:17 AM
To: www-tag@w3.org
Cc: Jonathan Rees
Subject: Re: Arrested - re: TAG ISSUE-25 deep linking

> The demandprogress.org site that Tim referenced seems to not make that 
> distinction at all (or they didn't get the facts right).

As the executive director of Demand Progress, I'd like to say that the reason we don't make a big distinction here is because the government doesn't. [The sealed complaint we posted][1] makes it quite clear that they are alleging that simply linking to a copyrighted work constitutes direct criminal copyright infringement. Perhaps the government will moderate its argument as the case continues, but at the moment this claim seems quite extreme. And this is borne out by the rest of the government's behavior. The owner of channelsurfing.net was arrested, but I think that's for a variety of non-technical reasons (he was in the US, he operated one of the more prominent sites, etc.) but the government has used the same legal argument to seize the domain names of sites that don't do anything more than link (and some that appear to do less).

[1]: http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/dhscomplaint/


WIth my friend-of-TAG hat on, I fail to see a huge reason why linking to an infringing YouTube video should be perfectly legal but embedding it a crime. Admittedly, there are more complicated questions about "hot-linking" (i.e. embedding a copyrighted work published on the Web with authorization from the copyright holder) but I don't think that's at issue here. The scenario here is:

1. BigCo publishes a work.
2. PirateMan makes a copy and puts it on the Web in an embeddable fashion.
3. ChannelSurfing refers to it.

Can anyone explain why they think 3 should be a crime if ChannelSurfing refers to it using an <embed> tag but not if they use an <a> tag?

--
Aaron Swartz: http://www.aaronsw.com/

Demand Progress: http://demandprogress.org/



Received on Friday, 11 March 2011 16:49:33 UTC

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