Fox commits copyright fraud

Fox has invented a new copyright law: the right to control who links to clips of your work. They're sending takedown notices to websites that link to supposedly infringing clips on YouTube:

The below links are specific examples of web pages linking to video files that infringe upon Fox’s intellectual property rights. Fox hereby demands that promptly remove and disable the links to all unauthorized copies of Fox Properties on the website of which it is aware, including the infringing links identified below:

Copyright law doesn't allow you to control who links to things you don't like. Links don't infringe copyright. It's not a violation of copyright to link to material on the Internet.

I'll tell you what is illegal, though: sending fraudulent takedown notices. Diebold was hammered by the courts for sending out DMCA takedown notices for something that isn't copyright; now career troll Michael Crook faces a similar fate.

I'd love to see Fox creamed over this, too.


(Thanks, Steve!)

EFF senior IP attorney Fred von Lohmann sez, "Whether linking to infringing materials can itself create copyright liability is still a somewhat murky question. Some cases suggest that linking to material you have reason to know is infringing (i.e., after the copyright owner notifies you that the material you're linking to is infringing) can give rise to liability (Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry), while other cases point the other way (Perfect 10 v. Google). Of course, I think the latter cases have the better of the argument. But one thing is clear -- the DMCA's 'safe harbors' for online service providers (OSPs) give linkers a strong incentive to remove links upon receiving a DMCA takedown notice, because if they do so, they are protected from paying damages in any copyright infringement case. That's one of the problems with the DMCA safe harbors -- because OSPs have such a strong incentive to simply comply with takedown notices, courts get fewer chances to decide the underlying copyright questions, like whether linking to stuff on YouTube is infringing. So things stay murky. "