Fargo, ND asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for North Dakota

Q: Is reposting content copyright infringement?

I want to create a website that posts funny pictures from around the web. Obviously, I don't own this pictures. Is posting a link the the source enough to not be hit copyright infringement? Or if I claim that I don't own any of the photos? Would implementing a rating system be considered fair use of the pictures?

This wouldn't be such a big deal if I were posting for the just for the sake of sharing. But I'm looking to implement ads on the site. That revenue could make things hairy.

1 Lawyer Answer
Will Blackton
Will Blackton
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC

A: Yes, this is copyright infringement. If you do not have permission from the owner of those images to post them on your own website, you would be liable for copyright infringement. Attributing credit to the authors of those images does not absolve you of liability for copyright infringement.

Whether your use qualifies as fair use depends heavily on the specific facts and circumstances of your use. An attorney would have to review your website or plans for a website, before they could effectively advise you. That said, fair use is a defense to a copyright infringement lawsuit. So, even if your use qualifies as fair use, you would have to defend against a copyright infringement lawsuit to assert that defense; it wouldn't necessarily prevent a lawsuit from being filed against you. While generating revenue is a strike against fair use, it would still be copyright infringement if you were not generating any revenue.

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