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Linking to YouTube considered harmful

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

Friday, October 19, 2007
12 years ago2,207 views

A site that I had never heard about until today,, was raided. The site was closed down and its owner was arrested.

What did the site do? Nothing more than publishing links to videos at YouTube and similar sites.

The significant point is that the links were to TV shows and movies, and were indexed accordingly.

So, Google can host these videos and Google doesn't get shut down (provided they remove any infringing ones when notified). But maintain a list of links to Google and you get shut down and arrested.

The story from the Guardian is here: ...

The Wayback Machine link to the front page of the site is here: ...

The Wayback Machine link to their Legal Information page is here: ...

and that Legal Information page says:

"TV Links does not host any content on our Servers. All video links point to content hosted on third party webites. Users who upload to these websites agree not to upload illegal content when creating their user accounts. TV Links does not accept responsibility for content hosted on third party websites."

Stephen Tordoff [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Thats quite annoying, I was watching the Mock the Week on there

(It's linked to from the main / official Mock the Week site –

Gary [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Hi Roger

That is the interesting thing, so few people have heard of them, however, they are they are ranked as the 182nd most popular website in the world according to Alexa.

They are still below the radar enough to be fair game for legal attack. The question all bloogs are asking is the same, "Why not Google and youtube?". Well, perhaps it is because they are small enough to prosecuted as they will not have the legal resources that Google or youtube have to fight a legal battle. They loose and a UK legal precedent is set.

In the UK this is an important case, it will set legal precedent if prosecuted. We believe it is important that have proper legal representation in this issue, hopefully the UK tech industry will support them, but that looks to be unlikely at this moment. This story has hardly made any significant press. is the second most successful web startup the UK has ever seen, after bebo. Why would the UK industry not want to support them, we are often hear debates here on why the UK cannot get sites in with the big ones. Well this had a chance to. Whether they are doing something that is illegal or not, in terms of the law, remains to be seen. However, it is likely that the law is not well defined in this particular area at the moment. If a precedent is set here, then does it open the way for censorship, not being able to link to something a big power block group, like the media or pharmacuetical industry do not want UK citizens to see. This is about more than just illicit content, it has the potential to be about linking, only to illicit content at first, yes, but what next?

What is needed is this case is the UK industry to support and ensure that any that legal action that is undertaken is done so fairly and legal precedent is not set that may come back to bite the UK tech industry in the future or internet users in general for that matter.

We have started a ChipIn to raise money for legal defense, unfortunately we have only raised $110 so far, hopefully the UK tech industry will realise that we had better start taking an interest in our fellow UK startup issues, because if we do not, they may be ours at some point. ...

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