(Site hosted in Canada)

Would a website containing a list of links to free-movie websites be considered illegal? The "free movie websites" are hosting copyrighted movies without permission.

Note, the site in question is not linking to particular movies on these sites. It is just providing a list of the free-movie websites that exist.

Would this be illegal?

Also, what if the website still provided the same list of website links, but it was meant as a "blacklist" of sorts. With warnings saying "Please do not go to these websites because they are illegal and infringe copyright. This list is provided as reference so you can avoid these bad websites. Please make sure to add these bad websites to your site-blockers and firewalls."

Would this "warning" website be illegal?

  • 2
    Does this answer your question? When is linking to copyrighted material illegal? May 31, 2021 at 14:24
  • The linked question involves linking without permission to authorized content, and so is very different. This question will not be answered by any answer to the linked question. It should in no way be closed as a duplicate, and if so closed I will vote to reopen it. May 31, 2021 at 14:48
  • "Also, what if the website still provided the same list of website links, but it was meant as a "blacklist" of sorts." Is it actually though? The law involves more than saying something clever and saying "nyeh heh heh"- you have to actually convince people. May 31, 2021 at 20:44
  • The question explicitly says it was meant as a warning. Asking an OP if they're actually incorrect about what they're imagining doesn't really advance the discussion.
    – bdb484
    May 31, 2021 at 23:37

1 Answer 1


No. This would not be illegal. There is considerable case law holding that a mere link to a website is not itself actionable, either civilly or criminally, for wrongdoing by the operator of the destination site.

This said, even though it would not be a breach of copyright, per se, in some circumstances one could imagine the link, together with other actions to give the link more context and substance (e.g. a revenue sharing agreement with the illegal website operator based upon clicks referred from your site) to support a claim of civil conspiracy to violate copyright laws, or even a criminal conspiracy to do so.

But, it would be very hard to make out a civil or criminal conspiracy claim against someone who maintained a "warning" site.

Similarly, it would not be actionable to have a webpage that linked to a website that used to be legitimate when the webpage was set up, if the link then rotted and the site at that address was replaced by a website that streamed videos illegally or promoted child pornography, without your knowledge.

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