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  •  clarification on copyright and hot linking (none)

    When you hotlink (embed) an image, it can be argued that that is a copyright violation. Although the copy is actually made by the users browser from the original site instead of from your site, you are the one who has instructed the browser to do that and therefore are the one responsible. If you make a copy to your own web site and that copy is referenced by a 1000 visitors, you have made 1000 or 1001 unauthorized copies (the first copy may be ok in some cases if it is for your own personal use) not just 1. It is the 1000 copies that the owner of the image is generally objecting to, not the 1 copy. And if you hotlink and have a 1000 visitors, you have likewise made 1000 unauthorized copies. By analogy, if you print a 1000 copies of a brochure using someone elses image without permission, you are liable for the 1000 copies made and distributed not the single copy in the master artwork you sent to the printer. The printer is just following your instructions and should not be liable unless they can reasonably be expected to know you acted improperly (to cover their ass, though, they may expect you to sign a statement that you are authorized to reproduce all the material). Hotlinking can be both a copyright violation and theft of services.

    The law and case law are vague on these issues since they are usually settled out of court. And things like this are handled on a case by case basis weighing various considerations.

    In general, copying an image is not fair use even though you may copy a few paragraphs in most cases from the same work. In general, the image is considered to be a complete work by itself. Therefore, you are copying a complete work and not an excerpt even if it is effectively an excerpt of a larger work. By hotlinking, you are effectively creating a derivative work containing the original image. If you make a copy that is a thumbnail of the original with a link to the original image you are possibly in a little bit better position legally since your thumbnail could be arguably called an excerpt. There are some cases where an entire image can be considered fair use including possibly criticism and parody. If you copy and embed (not hotlink or you are liable for theft of services since you are exprssing yourself at his expense) a picture of Rush Limbaugh in your blog "Rush Limbaugh is a big fat liar" you may be sued but you have a chance of winning since Rush would probably refuse permission in an attempt to curtail your freedom of expression rather than based on the commercial value of the image. On the other hand, as long as your allegations are true, you are not liable for any loss of revenue to Rush that results from your convincing people he is a big fat liar. You can reduce the original value by criticism but not by being a substitute source.


    -6.25, -6.36 Worst. President. Dictator. Ever.

    by whitis on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 07:54:07 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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