101GG Legal Update: An American court rules that embedding video is not copyright infringement

As long-standing readers of this site will be well aware, 101 Great Goals has received a series of legal threats throughout the course of its existence.

Whether threatened by Uefa or the Premier League, 101 Great Goals has been attacked and bullied by a large and wealthy football organisations who claim that the activities of the website are in violation of copyright infringement laws – a charge which has always been refuted.

Now, however, a court in the United States delivered a significant blow to the interests of such organistions in a landmark copyright infringement case with far-reaching implications.

As reported by Mashable:

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that a site that embeds copyrighted videos from another site is not committing copyright infringement.

Flava Works, Inc. v. Gunter came to a close after the ruling was passed in favor of the defendant, Marques Gunter, the sole proprietor of myVidster.com. The court also ruled that watching an infringing video does not constitute copyright infringement.

The case began in 2010 when the adult video production company, Flava Works, sued video bookmarking website myVidster,for copyright infringement. The Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued myVidster a preliminary injunction in July 2011. It was then appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court ruled Thursday that embedding a video that infringes on copyrighted material is not a violation of copyright law. For example, if you found an episode of The Simpsons on YouTube and embedded it in your blog, you would not be violating any copyright laws. That holds true even if the person who uploaded the video ripped it straight from The Simpsons season 3 DVD. However, the person who uploaded the video is in violation of the law.

The court’s decision also protects those who watch illegally uploaded copyrighted videos. Judge Richard Posner wrote in Thursday’s ruling:

“…As long as the visitor makes no copy of the copyrighted video that he is watching, he is not violating the copyright owner’s exclusive right … His bypassing Flava’s pay wall by viewing the uploaded copy is equivalent to stealing a copyrighted book from a bookstore and reading it. That is a bad thing to do (in either case) but it is not copyright infringement.”

As stated repeatedly on this website, no one at 101 Great Goals, nor anyone connected with this site, has ever uploaded football videos on the internet. 101 Great Goals does not host or broadcast any such video on our servers. All we do is locate already existing videos and embed them on our site.

Such activities have now received a triumphant fully-legal stamp, although it would be foolish to start thinking that this issue has been put to bed once and for all.

Many are waiting to see to outcome of the case against TV-Shack – a website that hosted uploaded copyrighted television shows and films, but did not host the material itself. It’s owner, 23-year-old Richard O’Dwyer, is facing extradition charges from the United Kingdom, and the conclusion of those legal proceedings will also undoubtedly impact on the law in this area.

That said, we are over the moon with the courts judgement in America, and we urge you to Like, Retweet and Share this article in order to amplify the impact of historic Flava Works, Inc. v. Gunter ruling.