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Legal History of Film Streaming Websites - Essay Example

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Legal History of Film Streaming Websites Introduction: Over the past few years, the desires and preferences of internet users have changed dramatically. Therefore, website designers are now focused on devising new and creative ways which would enable convenient viewing and hearing of information, movies and other forms of entertainment content on the internet…
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Legal History of Film Streaming Websites
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Download file to see previous pages One such disadvantage is the increased risk of infringement of the rights of copyright holders. The Internet provides a faster, cheaper and easier access to entertainment content which inevitably increases the risk of unauthorized reproduction, unchecked distribution and illegal public performance of copyrighted content. (Aspen Pub, 2001). The advent of new digital technologies has eased the circulation of movies around the world which has been and continues to be the source of tremendous problems for the entertainment industry. With the advent of movie streaming technology, an individual can view a movie without downloading it from the website therefore; the ease of viewing has been enhanced. There are a large number of legitimate and legal websites that enable internet users to view motion pictures, live sports events, TV programs and other forms of entertainment. However, the problem of unauthorized public performance of movies has intensified with the advent of illegal and illegitimate movie streaming websites. (Litman 2001). History of Video streaming websites and Copyright Law issues: The demand for online viewing of movies surfaced in the year 1997 and is now a $1.9 billion industry. In 2001 two major movie downloading websites surfaced which were Movielink and Moviebeam. Both websites failed to establish a profitable market place and were sold in the year 2006. Today, one of the major legal movie downloading sites is Apple iTunes along with Amazon, Veoh, Hulu, Netflix and Blockbuster. (Finney, Angus 2010). One of the fundamental issues that arose with widespread use of the Internet was violation of copyright laws. In 1997, the Congress enacted the No Electronic Theft Act in an effort to prevent the unauthorized uploading of movies and videogames. In accordance with Telecommunications Act of 1996, Internet Service Providers will not be considered liable of copyright infringements committed by their website users if they agree to promptly remove the unlawful materials from their website. The advent of social networking and film clips sharing sites such as MySpace and Youtube was soon followed by lawsuits filed by copyright owners. In accordance, Youtube was sued by Media conglomerate Viacom for $1 Billion for the violation of copyright laws as thousands of copyright videos were uploaded by Youtube users each day. Youtube and Viacom solved the issue by negotiating outside the court but officials from Youtube stated in court that they fall in the safe harbor category of Digital Millennium Copyright Act which states that the Violator will not be liable for the violation if they promptly remove the material blamed with copyright infringement. Therefore, both MySpace and Youtube acted to prevent the resurfacing of such an issue by installing specially designed internal filters which prevent the uploading of copyrighted material. However, the critics of such lawsuits believe that it is perfectly legal to upload copyrighted material under the fair use Doctrine. The year 2010 proved to be hugely successful for Google and Youtube because the Court dismissed the billion-dollar infringement claim filed by high profile lawsuits and declared that Youtube falls under the “safe harbor” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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