Web Content


  • Copyright law and fair use apply to content found on the Web just as they do to any other intellectual property. Although it's much easier to copy content from the Web than other sources, that doesn't make it more permissable.
  • Assume that Web content is protected unless you have unambiguous evidence that it is not.
  • If someone complains that you have used unauthorized content on your Web site, remove it immediately, then investigate the claim.
  • Except for a few legal issues unique to the Web (such as linking, and filesharing), copyright guidelines are not dramatically different online vs. offline.
    • The laws governing the use of someone else’s image, music file or article do not change just because it was posted on the Web.

Usually Permitted:

  • Reading as much content online as is available.
  • Printing one copy of one article from a given site or journal for personal use.
  • Placing one copy of one article per journal issue or one copy of one chapter per book on e-reserve.
  • Including others' web content in your unpublished academic work if appropriate credit is given.
  • Including others' web content in your published work if you have been given permission by the original creator (giving credit is not enough for published content).


  • Printing multiple copies of a single article or multiple articles from an online journal issue.
  • Republishing someone else’s web content (images, articles, etc.) in your own web site or other published work without permission (credit is not enough).
  • Framing someone else's web content within your web site, in such a way that it appears to be your own content (for example, having an article on their site appear framed by your site’s top banner and navigation). Courts have sometimes ruled that this is infringement.