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Does a hotlink to copyrighted material constitute

Does a hotlink to...

Does a hotlink to copyrighted material constitute infringement?

Lawyer's Assistant: What written documentation do you have?

O dpm

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?

No and no

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Sure, the same question but instead of a hot link does a copy paste URL constitute infringment?

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/18/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,196
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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In your case, it seems like there is an issue of copyright infringement, but it’s important to analyze the relevant law first. As you may know, Title 17 of the U.S. Code protects a wide variety of original works including photographs, writings, sound recordings, motion pictures, and even architectural works. Copyrights do not protect ideas, processes, procedures, or methods. Thus, if a person has an idea for a better way to make chocolate covered pretzels, the law will not cover that. The party that owns the copyright generally has the right to reproduce, redistribute, sell, or license the copyright to anyone else as they see fit. The copyright does not need to be registered with the government; it exists from the moment it is created. Registration really helps reduce confusion of who owns a copyright, but again, it’s not necessary. You can click here for more information how to register the copyright.

There are some noteworthy exceptions. One of the exceptions being “fair use.” The Copyright Act says the fair use of a copyrighted work,is allowed if it is for:

  • Criticism;

  • Comment;

  • News reporting;

  • Teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use);

  • Scholarship; or

  • Research;

So, if a person reproduces a copyright without any one of those fair use exceptions or without owning the copyright, then a court is likely to determine they are infringing on the copyright. This usual means that the infringing party will have to pay the damages that resulted from their use of the copyright.

In your case, unless the author has a copyright on the URL, then just having a link is not going to be a copyright violation. It is the writing that is the subject of the link that is going to be protected by copyright. If you aren't reproducing that content, or if you are reproducing that content consistent with one of the fair use exceptions, then you will be fine.

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Your last paragraph relates to my question. I understand that it is the copyrighted material on the copyright owner's website that is the issue. Are you saying that neither a "hot link" nor a URL paste to the copyright owner's website is NOT copyright infringement? Therefore as you said, " If you [me] aren't reproducing that content" I am not infringing even though it is clearly copyrighted material?

This one is a bit tricky because the copyright act hasn't quite caught up to technology yet; however, a court would likely conclude that sharing or reproducing the link is not a copyright infringement. It's similar to sharing a physical address. You don't own the link, just like you down own someone else's address, but you can share that information without it being a copyright infringement.

Did you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Sorry, I'm not clear on your answer. An address isn't copyrighted material. This material is. So, I don't understand the analogy. My question isn't about the copyright ownership of the link. It is about whether a "hot link" or a copy/paste URL to the site of the copyrighted material constitutes infringement. As for "a court would likely conclude that sharing or reproducing the link is not a copyright infringement". That isn't my question. My question is if I give a 3rd party the link or URL to copyrighted material am I infringing on that copyrighted matter? For example, if you want to see the entire work click on this link?
I understand what you mean. I apologize if it's not clear. The answer to your question is no, this is not an infringement.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
OK, I understand but frankly I don't see much difference between giving a 3rd party a hot link and copy pasting the copyrighted ,material onto my own site for the benefit of the 3rd party. Are you saying that because I didn't copy paste it I didn't infringe, whereas if I had copy pasted I would have infringed?

Correct. If you copied the actual material, then people would have no reason to go to the outside website. This means that people would stay on your site, buy your product or services, or simply believe that you are the one that authored the copyrighted information.

If you provide the link, then you are sending people away from your website to view the work of the actual copyright holder, meaning that you aren't interfering with the copyright holders right to enjoy people coming to their site, buying their products, and reviewing their copyrighted material.

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To help clarify this, let's say you have a store and let's say that you are just giving away directions to a different store for people to view their products. Giving away directions is not any violation of the law. However, if you were actively selling the patented products of that store in your store, then it's illegal.

The same principle applies here in that if you basically aren't selling someone else's product, then you're fine.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
OK, Mr. [or Ms] Wonderful. Thanks for the clarification. I've got it. This is the 1st time I've used Legal Eagle. Did I press you too hard or too specifically for an answer? If so, please let me know.

Oh no, it's ok. I'm glad you asked follow up questions. This is something unique and it was interesting to me as well. Thanks again. If you don't mind, would you be okay providing a five-star rating for me today? I would sincerely ***** *****

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Legal Eagle, Lawyer
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Satisfied Customers: 10,196
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
As they say on America's Got Talent, "You've got 5 stars." Jerry Sears

Oh, thanks so much! I sincerely ***** *****

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