Feds Seize 7 Linking Websites, 1 Cyberlocker for Infringement

Feds Seize 7 Linking Websites, 1 Cyberlocker for Infringement

Accuse TVSHACK.NET, MOVIES-LINKS.TV, FILESPUMP.COM, NOW-MOVIES.COM, PLANETMOVIEZ.COM, and THEPIRATECITY.OR of providing links to other sites where copyrighted material can be found, and accuses another, ZML.com, of being a Cyberlocker where illegal copies of copyrighted material has been stored.

Federal officials have announced the seizure of seven websites it accuses of being “involved in the illegal distribution of copyrighted movies and television programs over the Internet.” The only things is that six of them merely provide links to other sites that host copyrighted material, and the seventh is merely a Cyberlocker where users are the ones responsible for making content available.

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, says that TVSHACK.NET, MOVIES-LINKS.TV, FILESPUMP.COM, NOW-MOVIES.COM, PLANETMOVIEZ.COM, and THEPIRATECITY.ORG, are linking websites and that ZML.COM is the Cyberlocker.

“Criminal copyright infringement occurs on a massive scale over the Internet, and reportedly results in billions of dollars in losses to the U.S. economy,” said Bharara. “That translates into lost jobs and real hardships for ordinary working people. That’s why we took today’s action. If your business model is movie piracy, your story will not have a happy ending.”

It’s a curious set of charges being that six of the sites don’t actually host any copyrighted material, only linking to sites that do. Linking to links of copyrighted material has yet to be a criminal offense.

The seventh site, ZML.com, is merely a Cyberlocker that so far the courts, at least in Germany, have ruled to be legal. A recent decision there in a case against Rapidshare found that it’s the third parties using the service, and not the site itself, that make copyrighted material “publicly available.”

Closer to home, the US District Court of the Southern District of California recently declined to issue a temporary injunction against Rapidshare over similar complaints by the adult entertainment company Perfect 10.

Bharara is clearly overreaching in both of these cases.

Last year the MPAA made illegal video streaming websites a top priority. It began comparing it to physical theft as though there is a finite number of digital copies to that can be streamed.

Stay tuned.

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