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, Out-Law.com:
"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: Thumbnails OK, says
"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."
The Links & Law
website is updated regularily,
so check back for updated
information and resources about
search engine and linking issues.