Say I own website a.com, and this website is a streaming content website (People goes to watch Illegal movies and Series).

But the website itself is not hosting any of that content, it is only allowing the users to watch those "videos" through links from 3rd party sites (Dailymotion, Rutube, videome, etc..).

Is there any legal action that can be undertook against the website itself, or should they be made against the 3rd party, which is where the actual copyrighted content is hosted ?

The website is in some kind, helping the distribution of copyrighted content, but is not the one hosting and distributing it to begin with. The website has nothing else than links in it's hard disk and database.

Thoughts on such a situation ?

  • 1
    What jurisdiction is this in? For the US, have a look at what happened to Napster, who also didn't host or distribute any copyrighted content themselves, yet were still held liable for "contributory and vicarious infringement". Feb 10, 2016 at 15:26
  • This would be for Canada. Don't know if the law changes there, but looking at the Napster case, it looks like it was giving access to others people machine, unlike in my case, it's hosted by a 3rd party which are companies.. No clue if that changes the outcome
    – Stacknerd
    Feb 10, 2016 at 15:32
  • 3
    @Stacknerd the law that broke Napster is embodied in the Berne convention and applies in most countries of the world including Canada
    – Dale M
    Feb 10, 2016 at 20:41
  • 1
    It takes a lot of resources to sue another company. People, time, money. The list of illegal sites is endless. The people who have an interest to take them down have large but still limited resources. They focus on the largest and easiest ones.
    – jcaron
    Feb 10, 2016 at 22:30
  • 1
    @Stacknerd This would answer that question: law.stackexchange.com/questions/2163/…
    – Zizouz212
    Feb 10, 2016 at 22:56

1 Answer 1


Since you've commented this question is for Canada, such a website looks to be illegal by s. 27(2.3) of the Copyright Act:

It is an infringement of copyright for a person, by means of the Internet or another digital network, to provide a service primarily for the purpose of enabling acts of copyright infringement if an actual infringement of copyright occurs by means of the Internet or another digital network as a result of the use of that service.

Subsection 2.4 defines factors the courts will use to determine infringement in this case. Note this is a relatively new infringement provision, being introduced in the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act, and a CanLII search currently reveals no substantial applicable case-law.

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