Web Content – Can Do and Can’t Do

June 24, 2014

Web Content – Can Do and Can’t Do

It is commonly, but erroneously, thought that if content is on the Internet it is free to copy. However, this is not the case as copyright belongs to the creator of the content as soon as it is created. Unlike a trade mark or a patent, copyright does not have to be applied for: the right is automatic and it is an infringement of copyright for any person to falsely claim authorship of material created by another.

The law of copyright as regards the Internet has been fraught with complexity, but a recent ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that a link to an item which is on a website is not copyright infringement, unless the linking bypasses restrictions placed on access to the material by the owner.

So, where material is only available after passing through a 'paywall', it would be unlawful to link to that material.