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Kelly v. Arriba Soft: The Appeal Decision

On February 6, 2002, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that that unauthorized inline linking to images residing on the copyright owner's website violates the copright owner's right of public display. The court rejected defendant's fair use defense: Inline Linking diminishes the oppurtunities of the copyright owner to sell or licence the images on his own website. If the court's conclusion would be applied to all hyperlinks, it could seriously interfere with internet use.


In July 2003, the court found that the district court should not have reached the issue because neither party moved for summary judgment as to the full-size images." So the lower court once again has to take a look at the issue of inline linking.


  • July 10, 2003: Thumbnail and framing ruling revised,
    "A US federal appeals court this week revised an earlier copyright ruling over a search engine that provided miniature images in search results, known as thumbnails, and linked to the original image framed within the search engine's own site."

  • July 8, 2003: Einbettung per Inline Link erlaubt?,
    "Der 9. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hat sich noch einmal den Fall Arriba Soft gegen Leslie Kelly vorgenommen."

  • July 8, 2003: Thumbnails OK, says court, Business Journal:
    "An Internet search engine did not break the law when it collected and distributed thumbnail images of copyrighted photos, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled in another case involving the Internet and copyright law."

  • July 7, 2003: Olsen, Stefanie, Court backs thumbnail image linking, CNet:
    "Search engines' display of miniature images is fair use under copyright law, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, but the legality of presenting full-size renditions of visual works is yet to be determined."



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