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Is it legal to share the website address and image address

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:06 am
by Halie0201
I have some questions about sharing the link to the web address and image address:
The rights cover; broadcast and public performance, copying, adapting, issuing, renting and lending copies to the public.
I am wondering is it legal to copy the link to a website and make it public, like this: ... d-2943518/
I think generally to copy and paste the link in this way should be fine, because people put things on the web because they want more people to see it. And to do in this way, I don't actually copy and make public any content alone, but just provide a link.

But the following question is kind of confusing:
What about copy the address of an image and make public on somewhere else, like on my own website?
Like this: ... 0_720.jpg
(To avoid any problem, I post an image address from Pixabay, so the image is in CC0 license. But we can assume it is a copyrighted work)
This is also just a link. I right click on the image and click "Copy Image Address". And then I get the link to this standalone image. If I post the link on my own Facebook or insert the link on a website, people can see the image on my Facebook or website without going back to the original website page, like this: ... 1750220453 But also, they can click the image to go to the link to the standalone image. I think this is not good because it's a standalone image, although I didn't download it and then upload it to somewhere else. And if this way is allowed and I can make use of any image on the internet in this way, I think it should be not allowed. But I am not sure. Is this kind of copy and paste infringe the copyright law?

Re: Is it legal to share the website address and image address

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:36 am
by AndyJ
Hi Halie

This question has been been much discussed recently by the Court of Justice of the European Union who have concluded that linking in a way which does not circumvent any technical measures such as passwords does not infringe the copyright in content which has been made available on another website. Your reasoning is quite correct. Indeed the court rulings have said that even if you inadvertently link to some infringing content (say an image someone else has posted elsewhere without permission) you will not be liable for infringement. However this special case would not apply if your link was contained in a commercial website. The court did not define what it meant by commercial, so this is a little unhelpful. However this doesn't affect linking where the content has been legally posted in the first place.
And taking your last point, it would be infringement to copy an image covered by copyright and to paste it elsewhere, that is to say, to store a copy on another server, without permission, unless of course one of the fair dealing exceptions applied to the copying.

Using the right referred to above, here is a link to a table prepared by a colleague of mine which tries to explain the situation: Image
GS Media is the name of the most recent case in the CJEU, on this subject, You can google it to find out more detail.

Re: Is it legal to share the website address and image address

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:36 am
by Halie0201
Thanks for reply!

There is a situation like this: ... mage-link/
In this condition, the image is still on the original server and I just copy and paste the link. But others can directly see the image from my website. Based on your answer, I think this should be fine because it's not on my server. Am I right in this case?

Re: Is it legal to share the website address and image address

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:16 am
by AndyJ
Yes that's exactly what the various CJEU cases were about. The only 'copying' of the image which occurs is when the visitor to your site loads your page, and their browser fetches the image from the remote server.

Terms like linking, hyperlinking, embedding and framing were used in the various CJEU cases, but ultimately they were referring to the same technical action, namely fetching the image from where it is legally available on a server not owned by the person who creates the links. The question in GS Media was, would a link such as this infringe if the image which had been linked to was in fact being used on the original web site without permission?

It is worth pointing out that separate from the legal situation discussed by the CJEU, some web site owners object to this sort of linking a. because it costs them bandwidth for their server to send the image, and b. on certain occasions where the hosting site has adverts, linking to a single image does not constitute a 'click' and so does not result in additional revenue generated by the adverts.

It is also worth mentioning that the law on this is not yet settled. Many national courts across the EU have chosen to take a slightly different interpretation of how the judgment in GS Media (and other related cases) should be applied in the real world. This is discussed here.