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EU Media The Courts The Internet Youtube

EU Court Rules Embedding YouTube Videos Is Not Copyright Infringement 68

Maurits van der Schee writes "The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that embedding a copyrighted YouTube video in your site is not copyright infringement. From the article: "The case in question was referred to EU’s Court of Justice by a German court. It deals with a dispute between the water filtering company BestWater International and two men who work as independent commercial agents for a competitor. Bestwater accused the men of embedding one of their promotional videos, which was available on YouTube without the company’s permission. The video was embedded on the personal website of the two through a frame, as is usual with YouTube videos. While EU law is clear on most piracy issues, the copyright directive says very little about embedding copyrighted works. The Court of Justice, however, now argues that embedding is not copyright infringement."
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EU Court Rules Embedding YouTube Videos Is Not Copyright Infringement

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  • Justice (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @05:17AM (#48238789)

    The fact that we need a court to decide that "embedding a copyrighted YouTube video in your site is not copyright infringement." is already a failure of the system as a whole.

    Next we'll have the court deciding that "Mentioning the fact that you saw a video on YouTube is not copyright infringement as long as you specify you don't know whether the video was copyrighted or otherwise."

    (I now wonder if this post is copyright infringement. After all, I'm replying an article about a court ruling about people who embedded in their web pages videos from Youtube which were copyrighted! ... OMG I don't want to die in prison!)

    • Re:Justice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sique ( 173459 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @05:25AM (#48238821) Homepage

      The fact that we need a court to decide that "embedding a copyrighted YouTube video in your site is not copyright infringement." is already a failure of the system as a whole.

      No, that's one of the things a court is for: Clear up legal facts if they are not explicitely stated in the law. The E.U. copyright directive and the laws in different countries don't mention embedding, and thus a court decides when the question comes up. In this case, the system works exactly as it is supposed to be.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Now we just need a court to rule that torrent links are not copyright infringement either.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Why go even further and get a court to rule that any link is equivalent to a bibliographical reference/citation in a printed book/journal - that is telling you where to find the referenced item.

      • The E.U. copyright directive and the laws in different countries don't mention embedding, and thus a court decides

        That was the point. The fact that embedding is not described in the law means that this is a failure. Please read the original comment again if you still don't get it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, that is silly. Courts are there to clear up legal facts *when the law is unclear*.

        You don't need a court to declare breathing, eating and any number of other things to be legal, even though none of those are mentioned in law.

        Yes, some people *would like* linking and embedding to be illegal. They try their best to pervert the law to benefit them, and this includes abusing the legal system by having it rule on obvious issues like this. It's not what courts are for, it is abuse.

        Obviously, what is "unclear"

        • by pr100 ( 653298 )

          The courts are there to decide the cases that are brought before them. If someone chooses to bring an action for copyright infringement in a particular circumstance then it's the function of the courts to decide the case.

          The wisdom of bringing, contesting or appealing cases is really a matter for litigants and their legal advisers; not for the court.

      • The fact that the party bringing up this case wasn't immediately laughed out of court indicates there is a problem.
        • Then again it also means I can take the content created by anyone on youtube and embed it into my own ad-studded website and make cashy money from their efforts.

          I think youtube throttles down performance for embedded videos though, just from personal observation.

      • ...that's one of the things a court is for: Clear up legal facts if they are not explicitely stated in the law.

        You just restated his argument using different words.

    • Now such a comment shows you have a serious problem - one with not thinking through the problem, and showing a thorough lack of understanding of even the basics of the concept of copyright. Note that every video, every work out there is copyrighted. Also your home videos. The whole notion of those anti-copying groups that say "don't share copyrighted material" is stupid - whether you can share copyrighted material with third parties depends on whether the copyright owner has given permission or not. Simply

  • Embedding? Copyright infringement? EU Court? We need a new copyright law.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The term embedded in this context just means a fancy type of hyperlink that displays contents from another site on your webpage. This is exactly equivalent to hotlinking images, and it can be stopped in exactly the same way. Anyhow, hyperlinks are not infringement, so it's obvious by extension that embedded linking isn't infrintement either.

    It's probably important to note that embedding a link to a pirated copy of the work doesn't magically make the pirated copy legal.

    I think it just means that only the sit

    • The term embedded in this context just means a fancy type of hyperlink that displays contents from another site on your webpage. This is exactly equivalent to hotlinking images, and it can be stopped in exactly the same way. Anyhow, hyperlinks are not infringement, so it's obvious by extension that embedded linking isn't infrintement either.

      If I had mod points...

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      My Youtube-fu is poor. Does it offer facilities to people who post videos to prevent other people from embedding that video?
  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @06:23AM (#48238977) Journal

    This is an interesting ruling because, currently in the US, playing a radio station over speakers in a business is copyright infringement. This is very close to the meatspace equivalent of embedding a copyrighted work. Since this is an EU case it obviously would not hold a great deal of weight in a US court (though international rulings are considered in some cases), but it brings up an interesting dissonance in copyright law.

    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday October 27, 2014 @06:31AM (#48238997) Homepage Journal

      This is an interesting ruling because, currently in the US, playing a radio station over speakers in a business is copyright infringement. This is very close to the meatspace equivalent of embedding a copyrighted work

      No, in fact it's nothing like that whatsoever. If the EU had ruled that it was legal to display youtube videos in a public place for the purposes of entertainment, then it would be similar. It isn't. There is no parallel here.

      • Really? You are mistaking the rebroadcast as "entertainment" whereas it's generally background sound, not the primary purpose of the business. Music played in a retail store is a good example. People don't come to the store to be entertained by the music, they come to shop for clothes. The purpose of the music is to help set a mood, just as the posters on the wall, or the color of the carpet, or the type and style of lighting.

        Lets look at it as a public place - you say that a website isn't one, but it's acc

        • People don't come to the store to be entertained by the music, they come to shop for clothes.

          Right?

          You are mistaking the rebroadcast as "entertainment" whereas it's generally background sound, [...] The purpose of the music is to help set a mood, just as the posters on the wall, or the color of the carpet, or the type and style of lighting.

          Yeah, you pay for all of those things. And thanks to copyright law, you pay when you play music for your shoppers. And "setting a mood" is the same thing as "entertainment". The difference is that the entertainment is not the primary purpose of the business, but that's a difference without a distinction. The purpose is to entertain people on some level so that they will shop in your store. If it didn't have value, they wouldn't play it.

          Amazon's only merchant space is a website. If this were to be adopted in the US, then Amazon could link copyrighted videos via YouTube on their site.

          And guess what? They already can, but for different reasons. Namel

      • This is an interesting ruling because, currently in the US, playing a radio station over speakers in a business is copyright infringement. This is very close to the meatspace equivalent of embedding a copyrighted work

        No, in fact it's nothing like that whatsoever. If the EU had ruled that it was legal to display youtube videos in a public place for the purposes of entertainment, then it would be similar. It isn't. There is no parallel here.

        A web site on the Internet is quite arguably the cyberspace equivalent to a public place.

        The display of a YouTube video on a screen in your shop, streaming from YouTube, is quite arguably the same as embedding it in your web site.

        A lot will depend on the copyright license of the material in question. You're certainly allowed to play music in your store if you get explicit permission from the copyright owner of this music to use their material in your shop. Maybe they even come and play live in your shop. If

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      This is an interesting ruling because, currently in the US, playing a radio station over speakers in a business is copyright infringement. This is very close to the meatspace equivalent of embedding a copyrighted work. Since this is an EU case it obviously would not hold a great deal of weight in a US court (though international rulings are considered in some cases), but it brings up an interesting dissonance in copyright law.

      Embedding is something unique only to the "cyber" world. About the closest equival

  • There is every difference between embedded content and linked content.
    If you rip the video, store it on your site, then display it, there is absolutely no visible difference to the reader.
    How do the underlying mechanics of how it got there change anything?

    • Well, if a copy is made, you lose the possibility of removing the content or changing it.

      • OK that's fair enough, it does make a difference to how easily the problem is tackled once the infringement is discovered.
        But I'm still not convinced that an irate copyright holder who finds their content on a Web page actually cares whether it's embedded or not, or should even have to care.

    • In the embedded scenario the owner retains control. Frankly said owner should simply disallow embedding and let the embedder look like an idiot until they realize what they did.

    • There's a very distinct difference between "rip the video, store it on your site, then display it" and embedding. Ripping/storing is a very deliberate act to copy something.

      Simply embedding a video (or an image, or anything else, one would suppose) on a site makes no copies of it, and so, as per the ruling is not copyright infringement. If you're a copyright holder and have a problem with something you can see embedded on a page, go after the person/site hosting the content. That makes pretty good sense to

      • If you're a copyright holder and have a problem with something you can see embedded on a page, go after the person/site hosting the content.

        And if the content was a video that you (the copyright holder) uploaded to YouTube, then simply edit the video and set it to disallow embedding. Your embedding problem will be solved with zero lawyer costs and in less time than it would take to fire off a "Don't Embed Our Content" C&D letter. If the website then rips your video from YouTube and displays it on thei

    • There does seem to be some inconsistency here. The UK and the Netherlands have both ruled against people for linking or embedding infringing material, under laws against facilitating copyright infringement.

      It certainly does depend on whether the crime is the end result of deivering the material, or the process of duplication. Different courts seem to have different opinions on the matter.
  • So now don't they have to pretty much make the only consistent and logical conclusion ... that linking to something is in no way copyright infringement?

    They won't, of course, but haven't the courts previously said that linking to a place which does copyright infringement (or tells you how) is the same as infringing?

    So how can you possibly claim that embedding a link to a video which is served from someone else is any different? If I can embed a link to a YouTube video, how am I infringing any less than poi

  • ... to videos that are already available on youtube in the first place. For example, if the copyright holder had put them on youtube. And this decision would prevent the copyright holder from claiming infringement or damages for anyone who had embedded said video into their own website.

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