A U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Web site Supercrosslive.com should be prohibited from providing direct links to live audiocasts of motorcycle races. Get out a big bucket of dumb, people, because there's plenty to go around for everybody in this case.
A federal judge in Texas has ruled that it is unlawful to provide a hyperlink to a Webcast if the copyright owner objects to it.
U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay in the northern district of Texas granted a preliminary injunction against Robert Davis, who operated Supercrosslive.com and had been providing direct links to the live audiocasts of motorcycle racing events.
Lindsay ruled last week that "the link Davis provides on his Web site is not a 'fair use' of copyright material" and ordered him to cease linking directly to streaming audio files.
SFX Motor Sports, which owns the copyright on the audiocasts, sued Davis in February. SFX Motor Sports runs ads and logos on its Web site, but people clicking the link from Supercrosslive.com don't see the ads and logos.
News.com notes a history of court decisions on linking, including a 2001 case in which a news organization was prohibited from linking to illegal software for decrypting DVDs. A Dutch court blocked linking to copyrighted Scientology Scriptures, and an Australian court made a similar ruling in a case dealing with pirated MP3 files. In 2000, a California federal judge ruled there was no copyright violation in a case involving linking between Ticketmaster and Tickets.com, because there was no copying involved.
SFX Motor Sports is dumb because they apparently failed (as TechDirt correctly notes) to put in place any of the easy-to-implement technologies that can be used to block links from specific external sites. Davis is dumb for representing himself -- he apparently thinks that calling the opposition names like Genghis Kahn is the height of legal argument.
And the judge's ruling is dumb because it extends copyright to an instance where there were no actual copies made.
And yet: What Davis did is wrong. He's a parasite, getting revenue from the hard work of other people and giving nothing back.
A better way to handle this would have been for SFX Motor Sports to have put in place technology to block Davis's connections and then, if necessary, sue Davis for circumventing them.