A Resource For Understanding Federal Copyright As It Applies to the Internet

Cases & Comments

Shedding Some Light?

A lightbulb--Shedding Some Light in the Digital EraAs new technologies change the nature of mass communications, the balance set between the "exclusive rights" of copyright holders and the public interest in access to information may need to be shifted. Policy arguments in favor of and against restrictive copyright legislation may intensify as new technologies change the way that information may be accessed and disseminated. [1]

It seems undeniable, however, that just as the Internet creates new opportunities for the creation and exchange of information and ideas, so too does the Internet create new opportunities for possible copyright infringements. Information on the World Wide Web can be easily downloaded, copied, exchanged, and published. A user may copy jpeg or gif files, open them in PhotoShop, and alter them with ease. A user may then simple and easily publish them on his or her own site, without the vigilant eye of the editor asking whether copyright permission was required and if so, whether such permission was effectively obtained. A user may also "frame" another's page or material, remove advertisements, and so give the general impression to the viewer that the material was of his or her own creation. While some of these practices may easily fit within existing concepts of copyright infringement through analogy to the print world, other practices, such as linking and framing, may expose unrecognized ambiguities in the law.

More Information

Copyright implications of "surface" linking and "deep linking."

Copyright implications that might arise from "framing" copyrighted works within a new web site.


1. See Ruth Okekiji, Givers, Takers, and Other Kinds of Users: A Fair Use Doctrine For Cyberspace. 53 Fla. L. Rev 107, 109-112. (2001).

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