Should Linking To Copyrighted Material Be Illegal?

    August 16, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

Despite how you feel on the matter, online piracy is illegal. Various courts throughout the country have said again and again that uploading pirated works on the Internet for others to download is illegal. The copyright lobby hasn’t really done much about it in recent years after finding out that suing everybody wasn’t good for their image. There is, however, a new war that the copyright lobby is waging that’s far more murky in its legality.

The courts are now having to deal with the issue of linking to content that may be illegal. Copyright law has generally been applied to those who host the content themselves. Now the law is being applied to sites that host zero content, but rather link to content on other Web sites. That’s where the case of Anton Vickerman comes in.

Should linking to copyrighted material be illegal? Where do we draw the line in copyright law? Let us know in the comments.

It was reported Monday that Vickerman was convicted on two counts of conspiracy to defraud. He now stands to serve four years in prison for running surfthechannel.com. The Web site hosted links to content off site – both legal and illegal. He was said to have made £250,000 through advertisements on the site in 2008.

The interesting part is that Vickerman could not be charged for copyright violation. The prosecution had to go with charges of conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement. Facilitating copyright infringement is a hard sell in most courts because most people charged with the crime usually aren’t aware that the content they’re linking to illegal.

Unfortunately for Vickerman, he sold advertisements on his Web site. The mere fact that he made money by linking to this illegal content is what doomed him in the first place. The prosecution stated that Vickerman’s Web site “was created specifically to make money from criminal activity.” The defense obviously argued that this was not the case, but it’s hard to argue with the £250,000 made over the course of a year. That’s obviously more than what running a link aggregator would cost.

It causes one to think if the result would have been the same if Vicerkman had made no money off of the site. There are plenty of other sites out there that only link to illegal content, but make no money from it. They pay for the servers out of their own pocket or with donations from users. It seems to be a legal gray area that only becomes criminal activity once the site owner starts to make money off of it.

Vickerman isn’t the only UK resident who is facing charges over linking to illegal content, nor is he the most well known. We’ve covered the extradition case of Richard O’Dwyer extensively over the past year and it’s far messier than Vickerman’s case ever was.

For those who need a refresher, O’Dwyer is a 23-year-old from the U.K. who is going to be extradited to the U.S. for copyright infringement. What was his crime? He linked to online streaming videos of U.S. television shows and movies. The kind of shows that citizens in the U.K. can’t easily gain access to until months after their original airing in the U.S.

Just like Vickerman, however, O’Dwyer is being charged because he made money off of his Web site – TVshack.net. The site was reported to have had about 300,000 users per month and he made about £147,000 in revenue over three years from the site. For his crimes, O’Dwyer would be extradited to the U.S. where he could face up to 10 years in prison.

Of course, this brings us to the difference between O’Dwyer and Vickerman. Why can one be tried in the U.K. while the other has to be tried in the U.S.? Many groups and activists don’t see a difference and are fighting to have O’Dwyer tried in his native country. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales started a petition in June that called for the halting of O’Dwyer’s extradition. He even went so far to say that O’Dwyer is the “human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public.”

O’Dwyer’s mother even jumped into the fray with a passionate plea for her son to remain in the U.K. She said that her son’s extradition is not about copyright, but rather the U.S. wanting to flex its control over the Internet. She said that her son’s case is about “America trying to control and police the Internet.” She also said that it’s “wrong that America should lay laws down on the Internet for other countries.”

Both Wales and O’Dwyer’s mother bring up good points that lead to a much larger question. Why does the copyright industry care so much about linking to content? Why would they go out of their way to prosecute some guys that ran a Web site that never hosted any of this content, but rather linked to it. Most of the content on these sites were submitted by users. The DMCA has a safe harbor provision that protects Web sites from the actions of its users. Of course, a Web site can only qualify for safe harbor if they have no knowledge about the infringing content. It’s hard to say if Vickerman or O’Dwyer knew the content they were hosting was illegal.

Should O’Dwyer be extradited to the U.S. for merely linking to copyrighted material? Should either men receive DMCA protections? Let us know in the comments.

All of this is meant to lead up to the biggest problem at hand – Google. There are other search engines, but Google has been targeted the most for their actions. The copyright lobby has been constantly on Google’s back for linking to copyrighted content. They even claim that Google prioritizes infringing links over legitimate links in search results for those searching for something as innocuous as “Justin Bieber MP3.”

Back in January, when the debate over SOPA was in full swing, media mogul Rupert Murdoch said that Google was a “piracy leader.” He said that Google streams movies, which I assume he means YouTube, and sells adverts around them. That kind of response to Google is typical hence why Google and other search engines were given a code of conduct by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The code of conduct says that Google and other search engines should “assign lower rankings to sites that repeatedly make available unlicensed content in breach of copyright.” It also calls upon Google to “stop indexing Web sites that are subject to court orders.” In short, it’s all about the copyright industry wanting Google to stop linking to illegal content. They might have gotten their wish last week.

The Internet collectively freaked out when Google announced that they were adding DMCA takedown notices to their search algorithm. Google’s SVP of Engineering, Amit Singhal, said that “sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results.” Many people immediately began to assume that this was just Google bowing to copyright lobby pressure and why wouldn’t they? While it’s highly unlikely that Google would be convicted for copyright violations, the DMCA definitely protects them, it gives them a bargaining chip in Washington and Hollywood.

The mere fact that Google did this in the first place, however, is a major cause for concern. There are plenty of legitimate sites that receive bogus takedown notices all the time. Most of these sites thrive off of user created goods and media. Would Google knock them down in search results because of some overzealous copyright warrior?

Our own Chris Crum was quick to point out that Google’s new ranking signal was only one out of over 200. Sites that were already doing well are still going to keep doing well. Your favorite YouTube videos and Etsy stores are still going to stay near the top of search if Google has anything to say about. What is worrisome is that Google even had to address in the first place.

With Google backing the idea that linking to illegal content is indeed illegal, it only legitimatizes the current trend of going after those that only host links. Will Google’s move make the copyright lobby more aggressive in going after those who run link aggregate sites? Will it only go after those who link to television shows and movies? What about news aggregate sites that link to content from the overly protective AP?

It’s still too early to tell, but a war on links may be coming. The Internet was built on links, but that may not be the case for much longer if laws continue to punish the mere act of linking.

Do you think links are in danger? Would the copyright lobby try to destabilize one of the key tenets of the Internet? Let us know in the comments.

  • Robert Grimshaw

    Disney ( Film Industry ) is reported to be enforcing a edict that new movies can’t go to a Video store for rental until they have been in the theaters for possibly months. This will effectively destroy what is left of the Video rental industry. Personally I don’t care if they delay a Disney movie for years. It’s only going to hurt Disney. Other studios will get their movies out on rental or download and as the Theater goers continue to diminish, Disney will suffer. So will the Executives who came up with this stupid idea when they have to answer to shareholders.
    The General public is getting really fed up with the ridiculous extremes copyrights are going to. Humming a tune at a birthday party is illegal. Listening to a radio in a coffee shop while eating a sandwich is a violation. It’s music being used to enhance a business transaction. Really! Remember all those teens who are so enamored with downloading music … don’t forget they are or will be VOTERS before long. Politicians do what VOTERS say, not Disney. I heard that most people violate some copyright at some time. What does that tell you?
    I believe that if a copyrighted TV series from the 1950’s is not released for sale, is not being offered then the copyright should lapse. Same as out of print books. If the copyright holder does not even offer it for sale then they lose it and not in a hundred years, now. Copyright protection should be reevaluated yearly. The holder should pay to show why they should still have it. If they can’t it should be revoked. I agree Disney should keep the copyright on their version of Snow White, they re-release it and promote it.
    77 Sunset Strip, no VHS, DVD or anything is released or can be found.
    It should be declared PD. Also a government sanctioned archive should exist so the only copies of a TV show or Movie can’t end up being accidently destroyed or lost. If a show is protected by copyright an archival copy should exist for future generations.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    The movie industry and music industry both need to find a way to monetize their stuff for the 21st century. If they gave away free streaming to the general public and monetized the streaming with advertising and product placement it would pay several times that what they could get from selling albums and dvd’s/blue ray. It wouldn’t put movie theaters out of business as they would get free copies and advertisers would still pay for every single person that saw the movie and the movie theaters would get the movie free of charge and simply charge a few bucks for admission (not $10+ like today) and of course overcharge for snacks and drinks as usual. I think it could actually work. Don’t you?

  • http://webdesignjustforyou.com Eileen Forte

    Seems that Google cannot turn its eyes away and say they do not know that their youtube.com website contains pirated content. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. But you know that Google won’t do anything about their own “illegal content.”

  • Dell D.

    The basic problem here is that copyright infringement should be a purely civil litigation issue. It is symptomatic of allowing governments to grow that they eventually collude with big, financially powerful, “constituents” to add the force of federal law.

    Less government would mean more citizen responsibility and ingenuity. We are in an age of new technology and yet instead of creating new ways to distribute creative material (which frankly the big players virtually steal from the creators) they influence the government to do the work for them in protecting what are outmoded and inefficient business models.

  • sofakingdabest

    Oh no there goes the Drudge Report!

  • JRandom

    “Copyright” is a temporary monopoly granted to creators of original works, to “encourage progress in the useful arts and sciences.” It is an abridgment of the natural right of human beings to copy and re-use information.

    The “content industry” has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to create the myth of “intellectual property” and turn “copyright” into exclusive, permanent ownership of ideas. They have two equally vital objectives: First, to positively lock independent content producers out of the market by making it impossible to create original movies and music without being taken to Court by IP brokers alleging infringement. (“IP lawsuit insurance” is already one of the largest budget items for film makers.) Second, to assure that the right to use their own creative works as they see fit NEVER reverts to the actual creators who have signed away their rights to “content industry” corporations.

    The “right and wrong” in this situation are crystal clear. Count me as a solider in the information war against so-called Intellectual Property. My message to “Big Content” is simple: You f***ing terrorists LOSE. Do your worst, stomp down harder and harder, I love every minute of your orgy of self destruction.

  • Matt

    The frightening thing is this criminalizes “links”. By definition, the content is subject to copyright (all creations are copyrighted once recorded in a fixed medium), and if I “intend” to create a link to material that the rights-holder does not like (I cannot know the state of somesone else’s mind in general), I could now be guilty of conspiracy to defraud.

    For example, if you link to my post, can I get you prosecuted? Are you sure?

  • http://anglstapics.com Angel Station Pictures

    Linking to copyrighted material should not be illegal when it serves as a no fee or no profit reference to or citation of a work. Anyone who profits from another person’s or entity’s copyrighted works, where it is not specifically a work made for hire, should be prosecuted and prevented from doing so. However, this is a very convoluted subject since, for example, referencing copyrighted material provides exposure and possible revenue for the copyright owner. From what I have read and observed, it appears many people and entities feel free to take without asking or paying, which is stealing. It is comparable to working a full day only to have someone else receive your pay check and benefit.

  • http://www.judgesfailglobal.info Paul

    My view is copyright is to protect a creator. Any form of using the work by another person in the world to make money becomes stealing.
    If you cannot protect a creator there is no need for a law.

  • http://christianityetc.org Bob Sherbondy

    If a publisher of any material wants to restrict access to his or her material, I think that it is easy to do so. It should first be copyrighted, then access to it could be restricted to registered viewers who could get access to it from a link with the payment of a fee, like readers of copyrighted books and other publications get access to such material by buying them. Copyrighted publications could be advertized and promoted on various internet websites, but actual links to their content could be restricted to only those who register their interest in the material and pay a fee or purchase price to use a link to download it. Isn’t this the way that most copyrighted materials are handled, unless they are freely distributed by their publishers or producers?

    • http://www.soalatestekhdami.blogfa.com khaksar

      دانلودسوالات استخدامی,دانلودرایگان سوالات اعزام به خارج,فرهنگیان,اعزام,سو.الات ارشد,دانلودرایگان سوالات ارشد,سوالات استخدامی,

  • skycaptain

    Linking to copyrighted material should not be illegal regardless of whether when it serves as a fee or no fee (profit or no profit) service. Where do you draw the line? If I have a blog that links to a NY Times article or picture is that a violation? The strictest interpretation would say yes and that I should be fined or go to jail. How many times has the Huffington post violated the law by linking directly to other’s work? Showing or linking to where you can get something, like a reference to or citation of a work, whether legal or illegally in itself should not be illegal (not unless you want to be like China).

  • http://www.pilotfishseo.com Angie Charles

    As a former print journalist, I understand the issue. But Internet is different from traditional media. Linking is the way information is disseminated, so banning links to copyrighted material interferes with the broad distribution of good content. However, given Google’s views on bad links vs. good links, publishers run the danger through no fault of their own of having their sites downgraded by Google by having too many bad links from sites looking to make money off Adwords. And, of course, Adwords belongs to Google. Rather than go after links, perhaps what really should happen is that someone should remove the profit motive, namely Google. If they would prevent their ads from being displayed on link-only sites, that would solve the problem.

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    Not if it’s sourced properly!

  • http://compsoul.com Jhon R

    Copyright was design to protect creator from someone else claiming they created the work. It has being twisted and abused for monetary gains. Linking is what the internet does. Remove all links to everything and there is no internet just private websites only accessible to their creators. Just linking to a creator work cannot be illegal. It’s telling someone about someone’s work and showing it off it’s not telling someone that you’re the creator of that said work when you’re not. Fair use protection is not even needed as you’re not even using the link material just telling people about it.

    • http://karras-bommer.blogspot.com Karras Bommer

      Well said, Jhon R…I believe linking was the way the web was created and it was free advertising, support of one another, a compliment even. This is not the same as copy-and-paste theft of copyright material.

  • Ryan Kempf

    so basically hardly anything will be able to be shared thats crazy

  • James M

    I don’t see why making money form a website should make any difference. If the charge is conspiring to facilitate copyright infringement, then it is the intention of the website owner that is relevant, not whether he makes money from the site.

    Anyone with a website with links to numerous illegal downloads has the intention of either
    a) simply providing information
    b) facilitating people to download from the links.

    To distinguish which of these applies appears to me to be impossible. The fact that a website makes money from it is a red herring. Of course, Google, etc, will claim that they are only providing information, and that they do not have the intention of facilitating illegal copyright infringement, but they make money, lots of it, from their website. What’s the difference?

    • Haresh

      Hello James,

      You are 100% right..

  • http://www.dirtworks.net John Meshna

    It’s wrong to farm out the responsibility for copyright enforcement onto the backs of search engines or anyone else. Those who are worried about it should do their own work and extradition is something we should use for terror suspects and real criminals.

  • http://www.e-marketingpartner.com Bob

    Copyright law must change. Enforcement is too difficult and expensive. Banning linking is going to make everyone with a website, including Rupert Murdoch, a criminal. Fox News and WSJ link to copyrighted material everyday, and they run advertisements. Is there legally a difference between using a clip with Michael Jackson’s ex-wife to sell ads on Fox News and having ads on a site that links to downloadable content?

  • Gail Rao

    I put up a beautiful website. I used some google images I assumed were okay, as well as my own.I have a scammer now after me. Wanting 2400 for an image they say is theirs with little proof shown it is. I will NEVER EVER have a website again like that. I do have one written in all my own words,a few photos with NO links on it.The Google Adsense is not a money maker either.

  • http://clearkeygolf.com Carey Mumford

    Linking should be OK as long as proper author credit is printed with the link and the party placing the link has got permission from the copyright holder.

    Linking without permission is close, if not square on, to illegal

  • http://www.netprofitmarketing.com/cleveland/ jared

    I think with the new changes Google is making, it is becoming a slippery slope esp. with their own properties.

  • http://sites.google.com/site/justsayingmypiece/ Charlie

    Hmmm…here we go again. Yeah, this issue has been brewing for some time, and I don’t know how it’s all going to work out…but, I’m thinking that if simple linking to “illegal” (pirated or otherwise unscrupulously obtained) material, then it might even extend to search engines that include links to that kind of material in their search results, no? Where will it end?

    I think it will ‘all come out in the wash’, but I’m not too sure how lawmakers will manage to provide any real sense of confidence that enforcement of the laws they come up with will be handled judiciously and effectively, y’know? I’m just sayin’…

  • http://www.makeupstoreonline.com.au Gabrielle

    I think that for starters, everybody should put on their website that they own the copyright for the contents of their website.That should stop people who have any common sense to copy what they see.
    Here in Australia, people are still under-educated, when it comes to copy right and other related matters.
    I like to see a bit more reform here, we really need it.
    But we need clarity from google; a set of guide lines about what is acceptable and what is not.Example: When you sell items that fall under the food and drugs administration act you should be able to publish the ingredients under the product, so that people can see what’s in it. Now, if that is infringing on copy right, because everybody who stocks the product will have to publish that, that would be wrong.

  • http://www.coldcalltraining.com Ron LaVine

    Limitations of a Copyright under the 1976 Copyright Act, “Fair Use” doctrine.

    The exclusive rights of the copyright owner, however, are limited in a number of important ways. Under the “fair use” doctrine, which has long been part of U.S. copyright law and was expressly incorporated in the 1976 Copyright Act, a judge may excuse unauthorized uses that may otherwise be infringing. Section 107 of the Copyright Act lists criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research as examples of uses that may be eligible for the fair use defense. In other instances, the limitation takes the form of a “compulsory license” under which certain limited uses of copyrighted works are permitted upon payment of specified royalties and compliance with statutory conditions. The Copyright Act also contains a number of statutory limitations covering specific uses for educational, religious, and charitable purposes.

    Source: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/copyright/copyrightrefresher.htm

  • susbraska

    Impossible to police and ridiculous to consider. No, it should not be illegal to link to alleged copyright material. Alleged because who decides what is copyright or not. When I tried to protect my copyright video from being illegally used by a client who failed to pay, I wrote up a complaint. guess what? Youtube required I file an injunction. Since I did not, they let the offender use my video.

    So, what this story tells me that someone who claims a copyright violation will have to file a court injunction for remove it. That is too expensive for most small business owners, like myself.

    It won’t work.

  • http://urksoutpost.blogspot.com/ Urk

    It’s a ridiculous idea. What on the internet isn’t copyrighted these days? I understand that the idea is to prevent people linking to pirated material, but I guarantee people will abuse it by using it as leverage to keep people from linking to material in negative reviews etc. It’s also unreasonable to expect people to be able to distinguish between materials being released legitimately and materials that only LOOK legitimate. Intent is pretty much impossible to prove in situations like this, meaning prosecutors will be forced to leave the real criminals alone (the ones that can afford real lawyers) and concentrate their enforcement on the peons at the bottom of the food chain that can’t afford proper representation. As always the wealthy special interests who want these laws will insist on draconian punishments and congress, who delights in “sending messages” rather than actually solving problems will eagerly oblige (in exchange for a suitably generous campaign contribution, of course). This will do nothing to solve the problem and will serve to further overcrowd our justice system with people that really don’t belong there.

  • Stephen Volk


    Linking to copyrighted material is completely innocent. In many cases, it would actually promote sales of the materials linked to. Those who would oppose this should be noted and as witting and unwitting fronts for media controllers. Of course, this should not be seen as a go ahead for a new outbreak of pirating in the publishing and culture industry cabal…

    To take virtual magnifying glasses to try to ferret out if the material linked to is original would require 100,000 more govt. jobs – a colossal waste of time and money. Rather the jobs be created to sift through and expose daily liberal spin. Pirating distorted truth seems far more serious than linking to a semi-remote possibility of pirated ideas.

  • http://www.markfitzgerald.com.au Mark – Models Melbourne

    This is RUBBISH!
    Providing a link is like giving directions. If someone provides a link to copyrighted content they shouldn’t be treated as though they are providing the content itself.
    A link is just a link. It’s a conversation, not an endorsement or partnership.

  • http://girlsghamepad.com J

    The question is not about COPYING OR STEALING copyright material but, “LINKING TO IT.”

    Now that we got that clear….If you don’t want your material copied,linked to, or re-written “Don’t put it on the Internet” and if you don’t want anyone to link to your content, tell Google to take it out of their algorithm

  • http://www.sphericalthinking.co.uk Herman Mittelholzer

    The issue over copyright infringement seems to have been dealt with very sensibly by the Swiss. It is perfectly ‘legal’ in Switzerland to ‘download’ any material, copyrighted or otherwise, that is available on the web. It is ‘illegal’ to ‘upload’ copyrighted material. This is a crime. Simple!

    This makes it incumbent on the publisher of the copyrighted material to protect their content, and there are many ways that they can do this. They simply choose not to because many rely on the illegal download market to provide free product promotion as well as marketing feedback. It’s hypocrisy taken to the limit. One is reminded that Bill Gates once bragged that Windows 7 was the most widely downloaded operating system in the world, since it hit the top of the tree for illegal downloads on Pirate Bay.

    The solution to copyright infringement is very simple. If you don’t want your material distributed without payment, either make it cheap to buy (i.e. Apple’s OSX System upgrades (£13.99) and Apps) or install software code that prevents playback or installation without verification of payment. It strikes me that the big content providers simply want to have their cake and eat it, and while this legal imbalance exists we are going to get innocent and entrepreneurial people imprisoned for doing no more than trying to make a living off the web.

  • http://pulpkult.blogspot.com PaulWADE

    I have been using and working on the Internet for close to two decades. Having gone through the Big questions, like “can shopping sites be trusted?” along with all the fear of ID theft etc. Now of course its all about “Copyright” or is it. Why now? Links to and from thousands of other links have been the essence of the Web.
    Could it be, I wonder, more about ACTA PIPA and all the other acronyms, with background attempts of the VERY Large Corporations to gain the control of the Web they thirst after? This whole “copyright” link issue is more smoke in the ass of Internet users. Lets be honest, nearly everything on the Web is the Intellectual Property of someone else (or it can be argued that it is) so where would such an “illegal” mess end.. Here’s an idea. Shut the Internet down.. Lets see who makes the “noise” then. Would it be the Corporations do you think?

  • http://www.domainsinternational.net Carlos Martins

    Disneyland is turning hell to the Internet users. Even for American people.

  • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

    It does depend on whether or not one makes a profit from links to copyrighted content hosted on servers unlicensed to distribute the content, that’s fairly clear from the original copyright laws.

    Only the copyright owner and its licensees are authorized to profit from their copyrighted content being distributed and/or consumed.

    A book store that knowingly bought and sold copyrighted works that it had acquired via a source known to not be licensed for their distribution would be no different.

    But from there, it depends on knowledge aforethought as well as intent being proven.

    If there are a few links here and there to copyrighted content and the operator of the site honors DMCA take down notices, or their equivalents elsewhere and, the site does not actively promote it’s having links to copyrighted content, there isn’t much of a case.

    On the other hand, if a site appears to be promoting itself or widely known as operating for the purpose of making unauthorized copies available and the copyrighted content is a significant portion of links available and, a profit is being made, the case is stronger.

    All that said though, there is no way possible that such a site could have taken in ~$73,000 a year from advertizing with only 300k users a month. The site was likely lucky to cover hosting costs.

  • http://www.ellefagan.com Elle Fagan

    This argument sets me on a stroll thru an impossible maze. THE PURPOSE OF PUBLICATION IS TO SHARE THE MATERIAL WITH THE WORLD. If the linker attempts to make profit from the work of others, then there is cause for complaint, but to SHARE links and even promote them is heaven – free ads. Thank you for this article – it made me think. Also, be sure to keep us updated.

  • http://doublethickcoat.net Joshc

    It seems ridiculous to punish those who just link to content that may later turn out to be illegal and contrary to copyright. Surely it would make more sense to punish those who are copying and writing the dodgy content in the first place. Otherwise before any one links to a website you have to quiz the content owner that their content is legitimate. I imagine you’d need something in writing to satisfy the authorities when they come knocking. How ridiculous!!! Time the law actually catches up if they are to be serious about this!

  • thurman

    it seemes that someone ia always bitching about something to control. i don’t know about illegal sites or content,but if you want someone to know about your site and it’s content,i would think that most site owners would want their info passed along to as mant other people as possible. Does not the Drudge Report link to many news sites?. And what about all the social networks(facebok,twitter,etc), All of them are in effect linked to very many site of other users that they don’t even know,when perhaps they only wanted certain things to be shared with a few of their very close and personal friends. like it or not, in a sense they are all linked to each other. But.perhaps my thinking is a bit twisted on the overall subject. Maybe I just don’t understand. You tell me!

  • http://www.deviantart.com/prints Xana

    I don’t think it should be illegal as long as the copyrights are respected. Linking is a way to promote.

  • http://www.hiskingdomprophecy.com Angus MacKillop

    No! This seeks to bypass the courts and all legal safeguards and allows the big cash rich boys to crush and intimidate the small guys.
    Establishing copyright ownership is not easy, and if money and influence can get people blacklisted before establishing guilt, the internet will die.
    All must be based on open due process and there are plenty existing laws to deal with this issue. No need for more.

  • http://www.opinionmaster.co.nr gad

    notwithstanding the tall claims to save creative work of the few. The actions of the lobby have demolished opportunities for self-information and information sharing through internet. Need of the hour is to encourage folks to come together on open source platforms and avoid the force.

  • John

    Nobody should link to a site that illegal, but how will you know if the site is illegal, if they are offering a movie to watch, how do you know if they did not set that up legally with the owner of the movie or not, you have no way of knowing. Also what if the site is legal and you link to it, and then the domain is given up and someone else takes it and now offers illegal stuff, now you have no way of knowing that that has happened, so I don’t think it should be illegal to link to an illegal site under those conditions, they should go after the site themselves, not who links to it.