Another question of search engine "legality" is being addressed with a recent court case in the UK over a video search engine. Techdirt's coverage questions the long-standing tradition of how to evaluate contributory infringement claims for sites like search engines based on the highly subjective "I know it when I see it" test. "Take for example, the situation going on in the UK, where Anton Benjamin Vickerman and his wife Kelly-Anne Vickerman decided to do something that makes a lot of sense: create a search engine for videos online, indexing a variety of different sites. This was as a part of their company Scopelight, and the search engine itself was called Surfthechannel. This is certainly a useful product. But, of course, the search engine's algorithm has no way of knowing if that video has been put up by the copyright holder on purpose or if it's unauthorized. Even more tricky, how does it determine fair use? So, it did the reasonable thing: it includes everything. Lots of the videos are legal. Plenty are potentially unauthorized. Apparently that wasn't good enough for a UK-based anti-piracy group UK-FACT, who had Scopelight's premises raided, claiming the site is illegal, since people can find unauthorized content via it. Of course, you can find unauthorized content on Google as well. But you know who's liable for that? Whoever actually put it online. Not the search engine that pointed you to it."
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