Send to Printer


Destroy the Internet to Save the Internet

April 11, 2012 8:34:54.148

The MPAA is back to their tried and true approach - if we just destroyed the internet, everything would be fine. Here they are arguing that embedding copyrighted content should be as big a violation as hosting it. There's a problem with both theories, but first, here they are:

"Although there is nothing inherently insidious about embedded links, this technique is very commonly used to operate infringing internet video sites," the organization writes. "Pirate sites can offer extensive libraries of popular copyrighted content without any hosting costs to store content, bandwidth costs to deliver the content, and of course licensing costs to legitimately acquire the content." The MPAA also notes that embedding can enable sites to monetize infringing content by surrounding it with ads.

Let's walk that back to something far more inocuous that would get caught up in that mess. I do a screencast every day. Let's say that when I do one later today, I forget to turn the music off on my other Mac, which is playing songs through my stereo. In the background of the video, you can vaguely hear the music. Now let's say that other people like my demonstration enough that they embed my video on their site.

The MPAA would call my inadvertant use of the music a violation - that's crazy enough. They now want to drag into their net anyone who linked to it, or embedded it. If that view ends up winning it's the end of sharing - how would you ever feel safe linking to anything if the MPAA could come after you over it? And before you say that you could still link if you were careful, consider domains changing - the perfectly nice site you link to today could end up being a content farm tomorrow. They couldn't get SOPA through the legislature, but it looks to me like they want to route the same effect through the courts. Given the level of technical expertise in that arena, we should be very afraid.

posted by James Robertson

 Share Tweet This