Avoiding copyright issues


1

The copyright/TOS issues that Pinterest was/is facing got me thinking about the viability of my own startup considering all the content for my site is socially-generated and requires copyright oversight. Is the issue with copyright that I am simply making a profit from having the content on my site or that I am profitting from displaying the copyrighted content?

Copyright

asked Mar 27 '12 at 16:13
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Dq Pb
8 points

2 Answers


2

The key issue with Pinterest is that they are copying works to their servers and then later serving up those files to others. The issue is the copying and storage of files that they do not have the rights to copy.

For an in depth discussion by lawyers of the legal issues in the case of Pinterest you may want to watch: this WEEK in LAW ยป Episode 154: Persons Of Pinterest You do not state if you are copying and storing on your server files that you have not been given the right to copy; if you do make such copies, then you are most likely violating the copyright laws. It has nothing to do with ads or making money (although that could increase the damages that you would be liable for in court). It is the act of copying something that you have not been given the right to copy.

Even if your website were not a business (a charity for example), never showed an ad, and never made a penny, you could still be guilty of a copyright violation if you have a file on your server that was created by someone else and they did not grant you the right to make a copy of that file.

In the case of files uploaded by end users (YouTube for example), where you are not involved in making the copy (other than storing the file), and have no prior knowledge that the file is not in the public domain; you must be prepared to promptly remove the file(s) from your server if you are notified that they are infringing on a copyright. Generally you will receive such notice in the form of a DCMA takedown notice.

answered Mar 27 '12 at 21:00
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Jonny Boats
4,848 points
  • Thanks for the Persons of Pinterest link, it was quite informative and helped me realize how naive I am about copyright and fair-use. I searched online for the legally allowed size of thumbnails I can store but only found references to the Kelly v Arriba Soft case. Would you happen to know what the legally allowed size is? And I will be recoding my app to account for copyright issues to avoid any pinterest type problems. – Dq Pb 8 years ago
  • Does your service actually know what material is subject to third-party copyright? (You seem to think that this would be stored in a database, but it's not clear.) If everything is submitted by users, and you don't have any way to differentiate between what they own themselves and what is owned by a third party, then the DMCA will give you substantial protection. If, though, this is information you're pulling off the web yourself, then you can't claim DMCA protection and have to find another avenue. – Chris Fulmer 8 years ago
  • My service is unaware of which user-uploaded content is third-party copyright. The only content I am providing the server is the embed codes for youtube videos. – Dq Pb 8 years ago
  • jonnyboats or @ChrisFulmer, is the fact that Dipity (dipity.com) is storing thumbnails of third-party copyright legal (I inspected the image sources)? is that fair-use? Because I essentially want to do what they are doing. And I had no intention of trying to circumvent any author's copyright, I simply misunderstood it and am working to fix any issues with my service. – Dq Pb 8 years ago

1

would I still violate copyright laws if I turned off the ads when copyrighted media is
isplayed

This is a ypical fallacy. Laws do not care whether you make money or not, SHOWING COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL WITHOUT PERMISSION IS A VIOLATION OF THE LAW. THere is no provision for "Oh, I do no make money with it".

Is the issue with copyright that I am simply making a profit from having the content on my
site or that I am profitting from displaying the copyrighted content?

Neither nor. The issue is that you SHOW the content - profitting or not is irrelevant. You have no right to show it. Even if you never ask for moeny it is a violation. Even i the site has no ads anywhere. SHOWING is the problem.
answered Mar 27 '12 at 17:38
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Net Tecture
11 points
  • Is the fact that Dipity (dipity.com) is storing thumbnails of third-party copyright legal (I inspected the image sources)? is that fair-use? Because I essentially want to do what they are doing. And I had no intention of trying to circumvent any author's copyright, I simply misunderstood it and am working to fix any issues with my service. – Dq Pb 8 years ago
  • Thusmbais are generally considered fair use. Details is what a lawyer does, but basically it runs along the line that they do provide a help to organize the content and them - such as search engines like google - fall under fair use. People put their stuff on the internet to be found (robots.txt) so this is a service they accepted. – Net Tecture 8 years ago

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