Under Appeal, But: Embedding Tweets May Be Copyright Violation
US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest disagrees. She rejects the “server test” argument and rules that the news organizations are liable.
“[W]hen defendants caused the embedded Tweets to appear on their websites, their actions violated plaintiff’s exclusive display right; the fact that the image was hosted on a server owned and operated by an unrelated third party (Twitter) does not shield them from this result,” Judge Forrest writes.
Judge Forrest argues that the server test was established in the ‘Perfect 10 v. Amazon’ case, which dealt with the ‘distribution’ of content. This case is about ‘displaying’ an infringing work instead, an area where the jurisprudence is not as clear.
“The Court agrees with plaintiff. The plain language of the Copyright Act, the legislative history undergirding its enactment, and subsequent Supreme Court jurisprudence provide no basis for a rule that allows the physical location or possession of an image to determine who may or may not have “displayed” a work within the meaning of the Copyright Act.”
As a result, summary judgment was granted in favor of Goldman.
As someone who fits under the (very) loose umbrella of a “Professional Content Creator,” I understand the drive to make sure that you get compensated for the hard work of actually producing something new & compelling. BUT.
This ruling opens the door for straw-man lawsuits that use the embedding of a tweet containing an image/video/song/whatever into a website as a way to run a “Gawker-type” ratfuck. How long would it be before Roger Stone or the 4Chan dildoes started anony-Tweeting copyrighted works, and then embedding them into sites like this one, so that they could then turn around and file lawsuits?
Yeah. Not a pretty picture.