General Question

richardhenry's avatar

Is the hotlinking of images or movies from another website illegal?

Asked by richardhenry (12628 points ) July 2nd, 2008 from iPhone

If the content is inserted into a web page on another site, without attribution or link back? Specifically, UK and US law.

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9 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

It isn’t illegal in the US, not sure about the UK.

I will sum up why it shouldn’t be done with one word. Goatse.

richardhenry's avatar

The goatse effort was fantastic. 40,000 MySpace profiles, all with torn open… yeah. Anyway. Thanks JP. Anyone know about the UK? Just interested to know, is all.

marinelife's avatar

Here is what Dvorak has to say, quite a bit as always. “The Court determined that “the property rights of a copyright holder have a character distinct from the possessory interest of the owner of simple goods, wares, or merchandise, for the copyright holder’s dominion is subjected to precisely defined limits. It follows that interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud.”

And here is the Court’s money-shot: “The infringer (of copyright) invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone. But he does not assume physical control over the copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use.””

richardhenry's avatar

@Marina: Thanks, that’s an interesting post indeed!

soundedfury's avatar

The legal status of hotlinking in the U.S. is still undecided. There hasn’t been a definitive legal test yet.

marinelife's avatar

Right you are, soundedfury!

shockvalue's avatar

Imagine the usurped bandwidth! ... and I think that not citing sources is usually looked down upon as plagiarism, if not fully illegal.

richardhenry's avatar

@shockvalue: But if the content being hotlinked is not owned by the server operator? I mean, you could mention the content creator, and not attribute the guys hosting the file?

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