Lawyer – The Pirate Bay’s Legal Demise Could Endanger Google and YouTube

Much to the dismay of Google, there seems to be a movement afloat to compare The Pirate Bay to the ever-present search engine. While many of the comparisons are technical (and this is far from a unanimous opinion), one lawyer is looking at the legal similarities between the two sites.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Simon Levine wrote a column piece earlier today on whether or not a legal defeat by The Pirate Bay could affect Google’s legal standing. While the defendants of the case have already vowed to appeal the case, it seems that this fact won’t stop people musing about what could happen to Google and it’s acquired site YouTube.

“One interesting feature of the case is that the founders of the site were found guilty of helping to make copyright-protected content available,” Levine writes, “a secondary act of infringement which is different to actual copyright infringement in the traditional or primary sense.”

The Pirate Bay founders have vowed to appeal the ruling. It’s hard to speculate on how they will fare but chances are it will be difficult for a successful appeal as the precedent is out there now so the example has been set.

Indeed the precedent set by The Pirate Bay ruling could soon have wide implications. The likes of YouTube and Google may be affected, as they also provide access to copyright-protected material. Indeed we are still awaiting the outcome of trials in the United States surrounding YouTube’s ability to offer copyright material free of charge to the general public.

He does stress that this is one legal ruling in one country (Sweden), but stresses that a precedent has been set. One important point could be made that it also hinges on whether or not members from the copyright intend on taking legal action against the site in the first place. While that might be up in the air, it could also serve as a powerful bargaining chip for the copyright industry in future deals.

The takedown notice system in YouTube hinges on laws found in the United States (namely the DMCA) and might not necessarily reflect copyright laws in Sweden. One worse case scenario is that YouTube starts erecting geographic barriers just to satisfy laws in certain countries (something that obviously doesn’t exist today)

Still, with so much uncertainty surrounding the case against The Pirate Bay, it’s hard to really pin what the implications of a ruling either way could mean for the average internet user and what they have access to online.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: