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Appeals Court Allows Video-sharing Site Link to Copyrighted Porn Videos
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On Thursday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision by U.S. District Judge John Grady in Chicago, who had temporarily blocked social media site myVidster.com from linking to porn videos owned by Flava Works Inc. The closely watched decision was a win for Internet social media sites like Google and Facebook, which had asked the appeals court to overturn the ruling to protect innovation on the Web.

The website myVidster.com allows its users to bookmark videos and other users can watch the embedded videos on myVidster’s page through a frame without leaving the site. Flava Works had sued myVidster in 2010 after it found that myVidster users were linking to illegal copies of its videos. The lawsuit alleged that myVidster was helping potential customers of Flava’s porn by circumventing the company’s pay wall.

However, the federal appeals court ruled that allowing users to post links to copyrighted videos of others, which are hosted on third party sites, does not amount to infringing copyright laws by the website that allows the posting of such links by its users. The lower court had held that myVidster was helping the infringement of copyrights of Flava’s exclusive porn videos by encouraging users to share illegal downloads.

  
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However, writing for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Posner observed, “As the record stands … myVidster is not an infringer, at least in the form of copying or distributing copies of a copyrighted work. The infringers are the uploaders of the copyrighted work.”

The unanimous three-judge panel of the appeals court held that in order to obtain another ban, Flava Works would have to prove that myVidster’s service really does significantly contribute to the infringement of Flava’s copyrights. However, the appeals court held that so far, Flava Works had failed to meet its burden.

Phillip Bleicher, the CEO of Flava Works said, “This keeps the door open to massive copyright infringement.”

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The case is Flava Works Inc v. Gunter et al, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11-3190.





 

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