7th Circuit court overturns injunction against social video site

7th circuit court overturns injunction against social video site myvidsterHere’s a question that may be near and dear to many of our hearts: If you watch a video online that contains copyrighted material, but the video that you’re watching hasn’t come from the person or organization that owns the copyright, are you doing something illegal? What about if you then embedded that bootleg video into a blog post, or shared it via social media? Or, to take things a stage even further, what if you owned a website or social media network where people were embedding bootleg videos or sharing links to them?

Those questions are at the heart of an ongoing lawsuit between porn company Flava Works and Marques Rondale Gunter, the owner and operator of myVidster, a site that allowed users to embed videos and links to videos that they wanted to share. The lawsuit actually dates back to 2010, when Flava Works initially took aim for Gunter and myVidster for, as it saw it, promoting illegal sharing of copyrighted material, and facilitating the process. A year later, Illinois Judge John Grady issued an injunction against myVidster, saying that the site hadn’t gone beyond minimum requirements as set out in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when it came to dealing with the illegal sharing of copyrighted material – an injunction that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal has just overturned.

The judge responsible for this latest development is Judge Richard Posner, who re-examined the question of just who is to blame when a copyright-infringing video is viewed, or shared. In his judgment, he wondered whether Gunter and myVidster were “contributory infringer[s] if a visitor to its website bookmarks the video and later someone clicks on the bookmark and views the video?” He didn’t think so, comparing myVidster instead to “a telephone exchange connecting two telephones” and putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of the person who had uploaded the infringing video in the first place. Saying that uploading an infringing video and viewing it were analogous to “stealing a copyrighted book from a bookstore and reading it,” Posner said that the latter may be “a bad thing to do … but it is not copyright infringement.” Instead, he said, “the infringer is the customer of Flava who copied Flava’s copyrighted video by uploading it to the Internet.”

While he removed responsibility for sharing videos from the site in this case – “MyVidster is giving web surfers addresses where they can find entertainment,” he wrote, adding “by listing plays and giving the name and address of the theaters where they are being performed, the New Yorker is not performing them. It is not ‘transmitting or communicating’ them” – he didn’t do so in every possible iteration of the circumstance. “If myVidster invited people to post copyrighted videos on the Internet without authorization or to bookmark them on its website, it would be liable for inducing infringement,” he concluded.

Social Media

Ride the rails and share your stories with Amtrak’s new social media residency

Amtrak is looking for travel fans with a knack for telling stories on social media. The new Amtrak social media residency program wants amateur travelers to share photos, video, and written content from aboard long-distance trips.
Gaming

Get caught up on all things 'Fallout 76,' including recent controversies

Bethesda's Fallout 76 takes the open world series in a new direction. With an emphasis on co-op, survival, and rebuilding a broken world, Fallout 76 is a far different game than its predecessors.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Social Media

Like them or not, YouTube Stories just expanded to more channels

YouTube Stories are exiting testing -- beginning today, the feature will be available to channels with more than 10,000 subscribers. The launch also comes with a new comment tool and updates based on test feedback.
Social Media

Instagram’s new Close Friends List lets you decide who should see your Story

Have a story to share, but don't want to send it to everyone? Instagram now offers a close friends list that will allow users to share stories with only the users included on that list.
Social Media

Survey of teens says social media lets them connect with friends and get support

A survey of teenagers shows the ways that social media sites can be beneficial to them, like feeling more connected to their friends, the ability to interact with different people, and as a venue to get support when they are struggling.
Social Media

Hotel chain offers an Instagram ‘sitter’ who will post photos for you

If the pressure to post stunning Instagram photos is ruining your vacations, then how about hiring a local Instagram influencer to do the job for you while you go off and enjoy yourself? Well, such a service now exists.
Social Media

Hangouts isn’t being hung out to dry in 2020, Google says

According to a report, Google may shut down Google Hangouts by 2020. While Hangouts was once Google's top-tier messaging app, the app has since been neglected in favor of Android Messages.
Social Media

Tumblr bans nudity to create ‘a safe place for creative expression’

Tumblr will soon no longer allow images with adult content. The company says the change is one that's designed to help more creators feel comfortable sharing on the platform, but admits the change won't happen overnight.
Social Media

Members can share the same Story with Facebook’s new Group Stories

Facebook Group members can now view and share Group Stories. Unlike the Stories for an individual user, the new tool allows members to contribute to the same Group Story, if the feature isn't turned off by an admin.
Social Media

You can now share saved Facebook posts with a Pinterest-like collection tool

Facebook collections can now be shared with friends if you also want to allow them to contribute to the list. Facebook is rolling out an update that allows users to add a contributor to their collections, or lists of saved Facebook posts.
Mobile

Broadway actor tells Kanye West to get off his phone during opening night

Theater actors can get understandably upset when they spot someone in the audience fiddling with their phone instead of watching the show. The other night that audience member was Kanye West, and he got called out for it.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.