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Are Mix Tape Sites On Solid Legal Ground?

Publication Date: 
April 01, 2008
Daniel Terdiman

Professor Mark Lemley and Lecturer in Law Fred von Lohmann are quoted in CNET News on "mix tape" copyright issues:

"Both companies are likely to rely on the (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) safe harbors," said Fred von Lohmann, Electronic Frontier Foundation's senior intellectual property attorney. "Muxtape will be relying on the 'hosting on behalf of users' safe harbor, under the same theory that YouTube and Web hosting services use. Mixwit will be relying on the 'information location tools' safe harbor, just like Google and SeeqPod do."


"Whether the safe harbors will cover their businesses is difficult to predict in the abstract, since much depends on whether they have complied with all the prerequisites in the statute," von Lohmann said. "But there is no reason, in principle, that they should be any more legally vulnerable than Google/YouTube. Of course, that's no guarantee that they won't be sued. There are at least a half a dozen lawsuits pending against other companies with similar Web 2.0 'hosting' or 'linking' approaches, including YouTube, Veoh,, SeeqPod, PornoTube, and DivX/Stage6."


"Posting the songs themselves online is problematic," said Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School, "but putting up a list of your favorite mixes is surely not. A mix plus a link is an intermediate case, but shouldn't itself be illegal."