SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26
  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    usa
    Posts
    251
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    If you don't profit can you still be sued?

    If you own a site that hosts copyrighted material or directory of links to copyrighted material and don't have any advertisements is it still illegal? Or I guess I mean can you still be sued if there is no profit motive?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    306
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Absolutely. Especially if your theft of their content is incurring losses for the original author.

    Just because you aren't making profit from the theft, doesn't stop it from being theft. Do not use content written by others, without their permission.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    949
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A really good rule of thumb is not to get legal advice through a two sentence post in a forum. Legal advice is best obtained from a lawyer.

    Take "if you own a site." That might be something like a forum you run. In that case the question might be about material users post. Or it might not. There is no way to tell from the amount of information provided. And, just because you are concerned about this particular matter in no way means that is the only thing -- or the thing you should be most concerned about.

    It's just the only thing you mentioned.

    A lawyer could look at the entire business you are in and help you somewhat rank what you should and shouldn't be worried about. (And no, this isn't a "pitch," don't contact me.) It just makes sense that you shouldn't get medical or legal advice through a forum post. And you should probably take any diagnostic advice about a computer or car problem with a grain of salt.

    Take the hypothetical example of a forum. Liability might well be ambiguous at best -- contingent on the degree of editorial control you exercise on postings. If it is more like a CMS where somebody has to publish contributed content before it goes live, that's a high degree of editorial control.

    Craigslist, on the other hand, has a low degree of editorial control. And that factors in when they got sued. The YouTube vs Viacom thing is in the news now. What happens there may determine what the legal landscape looks like for the near term future. This brings in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

    With the article linked to, you get some small hint of the form. There is a notice sent to take the infringing content down. And there is a facility to file a counter notice if you disagree. This was designed to be an alternative to suits.

    But it also might indicate a site like YouTube should have a DCMA Policy Page, which it does.

    Another interesting case that is developing with TurnItin.com. What happens if you're a company which checks papers for plagiarism? You have to have a copy of the original to check against to make that happen.

    Does a single syllable have even the slightest application to your post? How on earth would anyone know from two sentences and no context.
    Last edited by DCrux; Apr 1, 2007 at 05:47.

  4. #4
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,053
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tbonec3 View Post
    If you own a site that hosts copyrighted material or directory of links to copyrighted material and don't have any advertisements is it still illegal? Or I guess I mean can you still be sued if there is no profit motive?
    I am not a lawyer, but here is my opinion:

    Of course while someone can sue you for nearly anything (at least in the US ) there's no guarantee that they'll win. However the question that you asked has two very different aspects.

    If you own a website that hosts copyrighted material, you are liable for presenting that material. Although many websites, for instance forums, have a liability disclaimer, several have been sued or threatened with litigation. For instance, right now YouTube is being sued by Viacom media. It will be up to the courts to determine the amount of YouTube's liability, if any.

    I guess it's up to you if you want to risk the costs of litigation to defend your "innocence" for hosting copyrighted material.

    However, in the second instance, I don't believe just linking to copyrighted material incurs liabilty on your part. You have no control over how someone else presents a web page. Today a page might have original content and tomorrow that page could be entirely different, yet with the same url.

    Remember, though, IANAL. If you have such an issue under consideration, DCrux is correct. You really shouldn't act on advice given in forums when it comes to legal matters. Seek professional legal advice to be on the "safer" side.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    949
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't believe just linking to copyrighted material incurs liabilty on your part.

    Don't link or I'll sue!

    "Deep linking" lawsuits threaten everything that makes the Web work right.

    Don't Link to Us! is a practical database of lawsuits and link policies that might make you rethink what "safer" means.

  6. #6
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,053
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by DCrux View Post

    Don't link or I'll sue!

    ...policies that might make you rethink what "safer" means.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    Seek professional legal advice to be on the "safer" side.
    You might not want to take things out of context. If you read what I posted in total, you saw that I am not a lawyer and what I offer is my opinion only. You also saw that I recommend people acquire legal counsel before acting on any advice given in a forum. However, lawyers lose cases every day. Just getting legal advice doesn't make you safe. It only makes you 'safer' than you are without it.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  7. #7
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    9
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you are not sure if something is right or wrong, then it is wrong

  8. #8
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Aurora, Illinois
    Posts
    15,478
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dashaver View Post
    If you are not sure if something is right or wrong, then it is wrong
    Not true. I like to eat fresh fruit. Apples and oranges mainly. But sometimes I'm not sure which I want to eat, the apple or the orange. Am I wrong for choosing one over the other? Not necessarily. If I'm allergic to oranges and I eat one anyway, then yes, there will be a problem (by the way, I'm not allergic to oranges, so I'm safe).

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tacoma
    Posts
    151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Talk to a lawyer if you have a legal issue.

    1. Profiting or not profiting from the unauthorized use of copyrighted material has no bearing on whether you can be sued and is not a basis for damages.

    Damages are $150,000.00 per violation for violating registered copyrights. Those damages are trebled (tripled) when you knowingly violate copyright.

    If you are only the host and not the publisher or the site you can usually be protected by compliance of the DMCA.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    RI-USA
    Posts
    5,620
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tbonec3 View Post
    If you own a site that hosts copyrighted material or directory of links to copyrighted material and don't have any advertisements is it still illegal? Or I guess I mean can you still be sued if there is no profit motive?
    Hosting or linking to copyrighted material isn't a crime if you own the copyright or have permission to use it in that manner.

    But I'm assuming that's not what you meant, since that would be a rather silly question.

    So, here's a question for you: if I steal a diamond... is it still illegal if I don't intend to sell it?

    Anyway, you should really talk to a lawyer before creating a website that has potential legal issues.
    Josh is an anomaly
    rails & work & twitter

    Organization is the
    death of creativity.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    7
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You can definitally still be sued. In my opinion no matter what, if you're hosting someone elses property, whether you make profit or not, you can be sued and probably will end up getting, in my own words, "the shaft".
    Want a legitimate and free way to make money online?
    Sign up using the link below:

  12. #12
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Denver, Phang-Nga, Thailand
    Posts
    4,379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think the answer is simple in concept but incredibly complex in practice.

    The criminal charges could be applied regardless of made a profit or not, so you could certainly be found guilty of violating the law. However, a civil suit would only be based on the damages that the plaintiff could prove they incurred, whether they claim you've stolen sales or damaged their reputation.

    Either way, the answer is YES you can be sued even if you didn't personally profit
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
    Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tacoma
    Posts
    151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sagewing you are incorrect in your last statement. In the USA and in most other Berne convention countries the owner of a registered copyright item does not need to prove damages or intent.

    If you violate a registered copyright the damages are set by statute at $150,000.00 PER VIOLATION. If you KNOWINGLY violated the copyright the statutory damages are tripled.

    The most commonly violated copyright items on the net are photos, followed by news pieces and the world's photo and news agencies are starting to aggressively protect their rights.

    Put it this way... if you violate copyright and get caught you are in for a very VERY expensive lesson.
    Last edited by Eventus; Apr 6, 2007 at 04:07. Reason: corrected mis-spelling... added addditional information

  14. #14
    SitePoint Zealot Vertexity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    179
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the info! I never would have thought that much into linking copyright issues and had previously never even heard of 'deep linking'.

    I will be thinking a lot more before posting links from now on...From what I can gather so far, is linking to the home page alright?
    Dave McNally
    Freelance Digital Illustrator & 3D Artist
    Vertexity.com

  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    306
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Vertexity View Post
    From what I can gather so far, is linking to the home page alright?
    I would assume so. If in doubt, try to contact their webmaster.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Zealot Vertexity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    179
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I will be contacting people a lot more before posting anything

    thanks for the tips.
    Dave McNally
    Freelance Digital Illustrator & 3D Artist
    Vertexity.com

  17. #17
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    4,328
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Look into INCORPORATING. I haven't done it yet, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. But the research I did a year or two suggested that you can incorporate for well under $500...I believe you can do it cheaper through certain states. Anyway, if I understand this stuff correctly, if someone sues you, and you've incorporated, they can't garnish your personal earnings, home, etc. They might be able to garnish the offending website or simply force you to delete it from the Internet.

    I believe you can also create subsidiaries. For example, you could put all your general audience websites in one subsidiary and your political websites in another subsidiary. That way is someone sues you for something you wrote on one of your political sites, they can't touch the websites in your other subsidiary.

    I'm writing this off the top of the head; I was involved in a long discussion about this on a forum some time ago. Unfortunately, I can't find the link at the moment.

    I think this would make a great STICKY for this forum.

  18. #18
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Aurora, Illinois
    Posts
    15,478
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The best idea is to just ask permission to reproduce the content. It's usually free (as in you don't have to pay money) and only costs a few minutes of your time to write the initial email.

    I got a very lucrative license deal with a major international gaming company (as in collectable miniatures and tabletop warfare miniatures gaming, not gambling) for nothing just because I had the foresight to ask for permission. Their current owners (Topps) has so far been very willing to leave things well enough alone.

  19. #19
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    4,328
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Are people required to issue a "cease and desist" message before they sue you? In other words, do you have a chance to fix whatever they find offensive or illegal before they take legal action?

  20. #20
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tacoma
    Posts
    151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    There is no legal requirement for a C&D, however C&D language is typically bundled i

    Nope... There is no legal requirement for a C&D, however C&D language is typically bundled in other language such as a demand for payment for the infringement.

    The facts are that an infringement of copyright is very serious and in almost all cases the infrigment is done knowingly under the "better to ask forgiveness than permission" theorum. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    There is a growing number of suits issued for infringements and the IP owners are having little patience. Corbis and Getty are actively enforcing their rights for their images and getting large settlements and news agencies like AP, AHN and Reuters are doing the same. Can't say that I blame them, we all know that providing content is expensive.

    Geosite you mentioned incorporating. Well if you operate as a leagl and responsible corporation that's fine, but courts have been fairly unforgiving of people that try to hide behind the corporate veil. Also corporate offices have been found liable and had assets attached and seized resulting from judgements.

    Keep in mind that also that copyright violations, especially violations of registered copyrights can also carry CRIMINAL penalties for willful infringement.

    <qoute>
    506. Criminal offenses
    (a) Criminal Infringement. - Any person who infringes a copyright willfully either -

    (1) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or

    (2) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000,

    shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, United States Code. For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.
    </quote>

    It amazes me that people will steal content and then claim ignorance.

    I've recommended a book before called "Law of the Web: A Field Guide To The Internet" by Jon Hart.. i recommend that you read it and if your using content without WRITTEN permission or other license that you talk to a lawyer pronto.

  21. #21
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    4,328
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Eventus View Post
    Geosite you mentioned incorporating. Well if you operate as a leagl and responsible corporation that's fine, but courts have been fairly unforgiving of people that try to hide behind the corporate veil. ..
    Unless their name is Bill Gates!

    It amazes me that people will steal content and then claim ignorance.
    Like Wikipedia. I'm amazed at the number of images on their site that say something like, "This image MAY BE copyrighted." I don't know how they get away with it.

  22. #22
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Aurora, Illinois
    Posts
    15,478
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Because in Wikipedia's case they're probably "getting away with it" since the images are being used for editorial and educational purposes. They may also have licensing agreements that we don't know about.

  23. #23
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    4,328
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz View Post
    Because in Wikipedia's case they're probably "getting away with it" since the images are being used for editorial and educational purposes.
    That's another thing newbies should be aware of - the mystery of "educational." What about websites that are educational but also feature paid advertising? They're typically classified as commercial sites, even though they're educational. Then again, Wikipedia earns revenue, too - through donations.

    In fact, most of my websites are educational and/or editorial, and I'm endlessly confused by all the "fair use" notices I see on similar websites. Some of them are obviously pushing the envelope.

  24. #24
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Aurora, Illinois
    Posts
    15,478
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When in doubt, ask a copyright lawyer.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tacoma
    Posts
    151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Again fair use is a nebulous area.. I wonder how much $$ wikipedia spends on attorney's? Anyone know?

    I would say that unless you are an accredited educational institution then claiming "educational" use is inappropriate.

    talk to a lawyer.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •