Providing link to content and copyrights/legal implications

Skip to first unread message


Nov 21, 2010, 7:17:29 AM11/21/10


I just joined to become a SpokenWord curator out of curiosity and
I read "Terms of Services" + DMCA policy pages, and I have following
question(s) before I get started with my tasks:

As a curator I have no plans to upload any media files to the site -
and I see
that I would be only providing links to various sources of contents

The "terms of services" / DMCA policy page of seems to
give an impression that there's likely-hood of unintentionally
infringing copyrights
by just providing links too.

My question(s):

* The possibility of infringing a copyright in just providing a link,
as I see, arise only when
the linked site itself does not own the content.

An example:
Say, if I provide a link to a website "some-site.tld" for a content
file named "C",
and if C is not owned by some-site.tld then that would be a case of

But would not that be an infringement on the linked site's part
alone ? (some-site.tld alone is guilty ?)

* Is there any other possibility where providing link to a website's
content could unintentionally
infringe copyright ?

* While I can easily tell if a site owns the content, is there
anything else I can lookout for before
providing a link to avoid stepping onto a copyright/legal land-mine
unintentionally ?

Thank you very much,

1) If I sound naive, then this post has done a good job - because I
am so - this is
my first time I am venturing into tasks of this nature :-)

2) I am hoping this question is not a duplicate (I searched the group
with appropriate keywords
before posting this qs)

Doug Kaye

Nov 22, 2010, 4:42:41 PM11/22/10
Hi, Bijal. Thanks for the questions.

If there's something in the ToS that gives the impression that linking might infringe on others' copyrights, please let me know where that is so I can have it clarified. That should not be the case. There are no restrictions on links to any legitimate resource (ie, something that's not spam, porn, etc.)

Most of what the DMCA is all about is how we ( respond to take-down requests when we're notified that something on the site is there improperly. Yes, the ToS refer to the DMCA, but in reality it's primarily an issue for those of us who run the site, not the curators.

The important thing to remember here is "good intentions." We do occasionally get requests to take down content for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we get furious letters, particularly when people don't really understand what we do. Specifically, some people think we copy and host audio and video files, which we do not. We also get complaints (rarely) that we've posted text or images that we retrieve from publicly available RSS feeds. We usually respond, "Gee, if you don't want it to appear on, Google, etc., why do you publish it in RSS?" But we take it down anyway.

Google is also an interesting example for us. Not that referring to someone else's possible error is a valid defense, but just consider your questions in light of, "What would The Google do?"  Obviously, The Google is displaying links to pages that are not the original source.

Bottom line, I don't think there's a problem here, but if we're not making it clear in the ToS, we should address that.


Doug Kaye, Executive Director
The Conversations Network
A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit
v: 415.868.5461
twitter: dougkaye

Bijal Thanawala

Nov 24, 2010, 4:39:16 AM11/24/10

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the clarification - that frees me for the concerns that caused me to 
post questions.

The part of ToS that triggered these questions is below. (I have underlined my
interpretation - hope underlines shows up on the post/mail) But I would completely 
agree if it is argued to be misreading on my part. 

"Submissions may contain material or links to files that some people find objectionable, 
inappropriate, or offensive or which violate the intellectual property rights (including copyright) 
or privacy rights or third parties. "

Thank you once again for answering. I would start my curating task soon.


Doug Kaye

Nov 25, 2010, 4:14:12 AM11/25/10
The essence of the section you refer to ("Third Party Content Made Accessible by Conversations Network") is that we have no control over the content that belongs to others. It doesn't say that *you* might infringe on the copyrights of others, but rather that the programs listed in our database may potentially infringe on copyrights. We have no control (and take no responsibility) for that content.


Bijal Thanawala

Nov 25, 2010, 7:07:51 AM11/25/10

Agree, thanks for the clarification, Doug.

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages