MyVidster Links Don't Infringe Flava Works Copyrights, Appeals Court Rules

Rhett Pardon

CHICAGO — A three-judge appellate panel has overturned Flava Works preliminary injunction against MyVidster.com, ruling that the social video bookmarking site did not infringe on copyrights when it embedded copyright-infringing versions of Flava Works content from third-party websites.

The ruling overturns a 2011 preliminary injunction, which blocked MyVidster from linking to Flava Works videos, which primarily focus on gay black and Latino talent

MyVidster allows visitors to bookmark videos of their choice. Users can watch their embedded videos on MyVidster's page through a frame of advertisements on the site.

A federal judge earlier found that MyVidster contributed to infringing activity by encouraging users to share illegal video downloads, but the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday disagreed.

" MyVidster is not an infringer, at least in the form of copying or distributing copies of a copyrighted work. The infringers are the uploaders of the copyrighted work," 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner wrote for the panel, which ruled 3-0 in favor of MyVidster.

"MyVidster is not just adding a frame around the video screen that the visitor is watching. Like a telephone exchange connecting two telephones, it is providing a connection between the server that hosts the video and the computer of MyVidster’s visitor.

"But 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, conferred by the Copyright Act, 'to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies' and 'distribute copies ...  of the copyrighted work to the public.'”

Flava Works may be able to obtain another injunction if it can show that MyVidster's service really does significantly contribute to the infringement of Flava's copyrights, Posner wrote, but so far it failed to meet that burden.

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