v. Lost Angeles Times: An Illustration
Framing another's content
inside your frame may constitute copyright infringement. For
example, Total News, an Internet publication, framed news stories
of the Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times,
and several others by framing their news pages within the Total
News web site.  Those publishers
whose stories were framed filed suit against Total News, arguing
that it was infringing on their copyright.
More specifically, these publishers argued that Total News
interfered with their right to control the reproduction of their
works. Additionally, these publishers argued that framing the
content of their work created an "unauthorized derivative
work."  These publishers, however,
settled their claim with Total News on the condition that Total
News refrain from framing their sites.
As An Unauthorized Derivative Work
This settlement precluded
a court from giving legal guidance as to the legality of "in-line"
linking. Indeed, a court has yet to say that framing may be
a form of copyright infringement.
Nevertheless, the above example illustrates some of the legal
issues and concerns that may arise from in-line linking. Indeed,
Gregory C. Lisby, an associate professor of the Department of
Communication at Georgia State University has argued that such
framing practices may violate the copyright holder's right to
control the creation of derivative works. 
He notes that a derivative work is created when an author "transforms
or adapts a copyrighted work while substantially incorporating
material from a pre-existing work." He emphasizes that
when publishers engage in in-line linking, publishers may remove
advertising or identifying material before framing the remaining
material. Even if such information is not removed, however,
the frames themselves may alter the presentation and display
of the original author's expression. Such alterations, in turn,
might be sufficient to "transform or adapt" a copyrighted
work and so may actually create a "derivative work."
Unless there is an "implied
authorization" to the public at large to create such derivative
works as a result of publication on the Internet, the creation
of such a "derivative work" violates copyright law.
Furthermore, even if such "framing" does not create
a "derivative work," it may interfere with the copyright
holder's right to control the distribution, display, and reproduction
of his or her work. Given that the work is often copied in its
entirety, it is unlikely that such framing would constitute
fair use. In the absence
of a court decision as of yet, and in light of the fact that
no current legislation directly addresses this issue, however,
it is difficult to currently predict whether in-line linking
is actually a form of copyright infringement.
implications of "surface" linking and "deep