Major Search Engines Sued for Copyright Violations

Two major websites are currently under the legal gun for allegedly assisting copyright infringement.

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

It is suppose to be a first of it’s kind case – at least, that’s what a Korean news site is reporting currently. The report says that two website operations were not complying with copyright complaints, so the local copyright industry in Korea is now taking the site operators to court for assisting copyright infringement. While copyright infringement cases have occurred in the country against individual users, it hasn’t happened to website operators until now.

The websites, according to the report, are NHN and Daum. NHN, according to Wikipedia, is a company that operates popular search engine Naver. Daum, according to Wikipedia, is merely a web portal that rivals Naver. Both operate in South Korea.

While BitTorrent website operators in other countries were similarly charged, it’s not clear if a general search engine was ever sued up until now. Search engines have been targeted before for copyright infringement, one of the biggest cases being Google vs. Perfect 10 over thumbnail pictures. Another related case was the number of broadcaster complaints against Google’s YouTube website in spite of having a DMCA system which would otherwise seemingly make them a legal operation.

If the search engine portals lose, it may set in motion a new wave of pressure from the copyright industry. Already, ISPs in Australia, Europe and the United States face similar pressure to implement a three-strike policy based on allegations of copyright infringement.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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