2.7.1.6: Copyright and the Internet

Copyright protection extends to materials found electronically, for example, web pages on the Internet. Web pages are considered a tangible medium of expression. While the duplication of web pages is protected under the Copyright law, students, teachers and scholars may use them under the Fair Use Doctrine. The following are some common questions and answers:

1. Can I Link to a Page? Yes, you can link to any page and anyone can link to yours. There appears to be a doctrine of implied access on the interned. Since the internet was created with the intent of linkages, those who publish have given permission for anyone to link to their page.

2. Are URLs and Link Lists protected? A link – a URL, is in fact, not unlike a street address and therefore, is not protected. You may use any link or URL and include it on any list your create. However, any link or URL list(s) housed at a URL may be protected under a compilation copyright. If you wish to copy or use any substantial part of that list in either a print or electronic format, you need to get permission.

3. Can I Copy a Page? In most cases you cannot except by criteria stated in the Fair Use Doctrine.

4. What Constitutes Copying a Page? Printing a page and then photocopying it for distribution. Do this only as you would any other material under the Fair Use Doctrine. Downloading or copying someone’s HTML or other code to your PC or to your server. This does not include holding the page in RAM.

5. Are Images and Photographs Protected? Photographic works or images, including icons, may be protected. Before you include such an image on your page or copy it from someone else’s page, you need to get permission.

6. Can the librarian or Computer Lab Manager be held Responsible for What Students Copy in a Computer Lab? Yes. In American Geophysical Union v. Texaco Inc. 60 F.3d 913 (2nd. Cir. 1995) the court held that the librarian was responsible for protecting the copyright and advising the users of restrictions. This has been extended to information accessed on the Internet. If you have a lab or other public access areas, protect yourself. Post a policy of copyright compliance in your lab or on each computer.