“Embedding” Images From Third Party Sites In Websites Is Copyright Infringement
January 27, 2012
THIS POST WAS MADE IN 2012 AND HAS NOT BEEN UPDATED SINCE THEN – HOWEVER THE LAW IS NOT THE SAME IN EVERY COUNTRY AND IT DOES CHANGE SO DO NOT ASSUME THIS STATES WHAT THE LAW IS WHEN YOU READ IT.
If you thought it was OK to display an image on your blog or website which you have never copied but include by including a weblink to the image on someone else’s website [embedding] then think again. You could be made liable for damages for copyright infringement.
At least that is the case in Germany today according to the Dusseldorf Court of Appeal [8 October 2011, I-20 U 42/11]. Embedding content now appears to be copyright infringement by making the content available to the public on your website even though you have never taken and kept a copy of the image yourself and even though the image is never “physically” part of your website. The Dusseldorf appeal court overruled the lower Court of First Instance.
The Defendant in the case had included links on his blog to two photographs which appeared on the Claimant’s website. No prior permission had been sought or obtained.
This is a completely different case from that of simply including a link on your blog or website to content which only appears on the site to which you link. Mere linking is not, in Germany, copyright infringement but obviously the person viewing cannot view the linked content on your site or blog but must follow the link to the original site to do so.