Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Hyperlinks Can Get You in Trouble

The Walt Disney Company's legal zombies are demanding that one of my favorite music blogs kill links to some mp3s hosted on some other guy's server (Disney owns the rights to the music being sampled in the new tunes by the Kleptones).

Libraries let people borrow, read, copy and share books, but this has not destroyed the book publishing industry. People write parodies of books and essays and do not destroy the worth of the original work ("Shamela", anyone?). Why should music be different?

And here's the real funny thing: is not even hosting the mp3s that Disney doesn't like; they just link to the files - is linking illegal? Does it violate copyright? Can Disney demand that Waxy fold? Should they be able to get away with this?

The answer to these questions has to be a resounding "no". As for the underlying issue of music copyright and free information, check out Mash the Planet for someone else's bright ideas.


Andy Baio said...

For what it's worth, I think that Disney honestly believed I was really hosting the files, and not just linking to them.

B2 said...

For what it's worth, there is probably someone at the Big Mouse that understands the distinction. But we know that their real problem is with the idea of mash-ups and "unauthorized sampling", and not just access to those files. And that's where they have missed the boat, because there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. (And, more importantly, no one should.)