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Why embedding content is important | Techdirt

from integration-is-at-the-heart-of-the-internet department

Imagine waking up in the morning, grabbing your hot cup of coffee, and scrolling through your favorite blog post or website, to find it like this:

Images are missing. The video content is not there. Nothing but an empty black void staring at you.

This is what could happen if a recent case brought before the 9e Circuit Court of Appeals, Hunley vs. Instagramchanges how content can be shared on the Internet.

Two weeks ago, the Internet Society filed an amicus curiae brief to represent the Internet in this important court case. This is the first filing of the Internet Society Amicus Programdesigned to give the Internet a voice in important court cases.

Through amicus briefs, the Internet Society can draw attention to issues or arguments that parties involved in a lawsuit are not likely to raise themselves, helping courts understand the potential impacts of their decisions about the digital world.

In Hunley vs. Instagram, several photographers are suing Instagram for copyright infringement, which is when someone copies content without a license or fair use defense in the United States. Hunley, while the plaintiffs – those bringing the lawsuit – claim that Instagram is guilty of copyright infringement by allowing others to embed photos on other websites.

They say that in addition to grabbing the “embed code” – a short snippet of web code that embeds content into another page – web designers and users should also negotiate a copyright license. to view embedded content. It would radically change the way we design and use online services.

While this specific case is about embedding images on the web, a ruling in plaintiffs’ favor could easily make it harder to embed anything in other contexts on the internet, not just the web.

The ability of a content creator to embed code or instructions that allow other people’s web browsers to access images, videos, services, etc., from elsewhere online illustrates the generative and modular capacity of the Internet. Integration makes creating content more accessible to more people. Embedding is found in many different aspects of the internet, with around 95% of all sites embedding third-party content (source: Web Almanac).

For example, the 9e Circuit Court’s website incorporates videos stored on YouTube servers. Below you will see two screenshots of a typical pleadings page on the Court’s website, one with and one without integration. The main functionalities of the website obviously no longer work.

Even email and text messaging apps on the Internet frequently embed content from third-party servers. Additionally, website builders can embed code to incorporate enhanced functionality into their websites, for example, translation functionality, video subtitles, or CAPTCHA functionality to secure websites.

The Internet was built to be built, and the coming together of different components, known as modularity, and ensuring a common set of principles for how systems can be put together to create new systems, known as generativity, are essential aspects of our digital world. Our Internet experience would be a shadow of what it is today if we couldn’t integrate other content, services and resources.

Do you believe in defending the Internet as we know it today, with easy access to content? Read the brief we filed, and help spread the word, by integrating things! #EmbeddingMatters

Joseph Lorenzo Hall is the Distinguished Technologist for a Strong Internet at the Internet Society. This message has been republished with permission from Internet Society Blog.

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