Friday, July 22, 2005

Austalian court ruling on linking

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that an Australian court has ruled that Web site can be sued for linking to, and not just downloading, pirated material and that the site's Internet service provider also can be held liable.

Over at API's Morph blog, Matthew Levinson in commenting on the case, noted: The result raises all sorts of questions. And not just for MP3 bloggers. The suggestion that linking to copyright material is illegal could affect search engines and a wide range of Web sites.

I think he's gone a little overboard here. The case specifically dealt with linking to pirated material. I think that's big distinction to remember as this plays out because the rulings elsewhere on things such as deep linking have given more latitude.

But this also bears watching. As noted here previously, Australia has not been the friendliest of places for publishers under new technology, and the Gutnick case (additional summary from Wikipedia) -- later settled by Dow Jones -- produced some unsettling precedent.


At 8/29/05, 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google finds pirated material online as easily as 'legal' material, more easily given the relative quantities. If you consider speculative cases underway challenging the search engine's right to return (mostly porn) images, it's not so ridiculous to suggest that the case might be a huge precedent.



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