Last week, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion in Flava Works v. Gunter, a copyright case involving myVidster, a “social video bookmarking” platform that allows users to embed videos — including videos that infringe copyrights — on their personal web pages. Plaintiff, a producer of porn videos aimed at gay, black men, sued myVidster for contributing to copyright infringement. In a lengthy but lively opinion, Judge Posner rejected those claims, holding that allowing users to link to and embed infringing videos could not lead to liability for myVidster.
Some porn producers have been filing mass lawsuits against thousands of defendants, and using the shame of being named as a infringing porndog as leverage to get quick settlements. Recently, a number of federal courts have dismissed these “porn trolling” suits. And now we have the Illinois Supreme Court dismissing another one. The plaintiffs here tried something new — they attempted to get jurisdiction in state court by re-packaging copyright infringement claims as a sort of mass hacking claim based on widescale unauthorized access to their clients’ porn sites. It didn’t work, but you can expect that the plaintiffs will keep at it, at least for a while.