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I have been answered on this site before that that linking to copyright protected material is not illegal, while linking to

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material that infringes a copyright is there a difference between the 2 situations?, and how to determine that such a material is infringing a copyright?

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Attorney answers 4


It is time for a lawyer, not a website, to discuss what claims you may have. AVVO is a free general legal information blog, not a substitute for legal advice. Look for an attorney you would like to have a consultation with. You can use Find a Lawyer tab above, right here in AVVO. Select an attorney, contact them directly and schedule a consultation. You might be glad you did.


Of course, the vast majority of links in the universe will point to copyright protected material. We can conclude that merely linking to the material is not illegal.

What I believe you are hinting at is a concept known as secondary liability and in this context contributory infringement. So if you assist another in their infringing activity you may be held liable as well. While these type of actions occur they are rare and often hard to prove out. That said, you really have to consider the big picture of your operation to determine whether you are likely to be exposed here. We simply do not have those details.

I suggest that you reach out to a lawyer of your choosing (perhaps several) for a free phone consultation and get some insights once your specifics can be fleshed out.

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Natoli-Lapin, LLC
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Does it mean that 2ry liability is considered only after formally proving the 1ry infringment liability by a court order or so?, or is it possible to the copyright owner to sue the 2ry infringer, before formally proving the 1st infringer liability?

Frank A. Natoli

Frank A. Natoli


You can always be sued and forced to defend yourself.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick


Yes, it's possible to sue anyone, and to sue someone with secondary liability and not the one with primary liability. The defendant would likely drag in the primary to seek to get the majority of the damages assessed against the primary. However, such suits initially filed against just the secondary would normally be because the primary is insolvent. Most litigators just sue every potentially liable defendant to let the Court sort out the damages, and usually if judgment is obtained it is joint and several so plaintiff collects against the one with the deep pockets and lets that one try to get reimbursement from other defendants.


See my comment to my response to your previous question.

The above response is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.


You said it, you "have been answered". That being the case, go hire a lawyer if you want more. Avvo is for finding a lawyer, not for avoiding hiring a lawyer as you seem intent on doing.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

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