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  Report: Copyright

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  Challenges for Copyright by ICT: Digital Content Providers

Providers of digital information might be confronted with copyright related problems when using some of the special features of hypertext media like frames and hyperlinks (which both use third party content available on the Internet to enhance a webpage or CD ROM), or operate a search engine or online directory on their website.


Frames are often used to help define, and navigate within, a content provider's website. Still, when they are used to present (copyrighted) third party material from other sites issues of passing off and misleading or deceptive conduct, as well as copyright infringement, immediately arise.


It is generally held that the mere creation of a hyperlink does not, of itself, infringe copyright as usually the words indicating a link or the displayed URL are unlikely to be considered a "work". Nevertheless if a link is clicked on the users browser will download a full copy of the material at the linked address creating a copy in the RAM of his computer courtesy of the address supplied by the party that published the link. Although it is widely agreed that the permission to download material over the link must be part of an implied license granted by the person who has made the material available on the web in the first place, the scope of this implied license is still the subject of debate. Another option that has been discussed is to consider linking fair use.

Furthermore hyperlinks, and other "information location tools", like online directories or search engines could cause their operators trouble if they refer or link users to a site that contains infringing material. In this case it is yet unclear whether providers can be held liable for infringement.

browse Report:
    Intellectual Property and the "Information Society" Metaphor
-3   Challenges for Copyright by ICT: Introduction
-2   Challenges for Copyright by ICT: Copyright Owners
-1   Challenges for Copyright by ICT: Internet Service Providers
0   Challenges for Copyright by ICT: Digital Content Providers
+1   Linking and Framing: Cases
+2   Positions Towards the Future of Copyright in the "Digital Age"
+3   Enforcement: Copyright Management and Control Technologies
Recent "Digital Copyright" Legislation: European Union