Shell Holtz writes a great article on “When is a Link Not a Link” that is worth reading if you are worried about fair use of content and link citations of web page content:
For years, I’ve been getting the same question when I get to the hyperlink section of my “Writing for the Wired World” workshop: “Do you need permission to link to somebody else’s content?” I am not a lawyer, but I have read a fair amount on this subject. My understanding is that, with some very narrow exceptions, any content that is freely accessible on the web is fair game for a link.
…The question today, though, is whether the broad court findings on deep links apply to non-HTML content. Based on search engines’ ability to find Adobe Acrobat PDF files and the various search engines that scour images, audio, and video, it would be easy to assume that all publicly-accessible content is fair game for linking.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Do You Need Permission to Link?
Shell is right that you do not need permission to link to content from a contextual link in a post, like that link.
The question above deals with embeds, embedding content such as a video, image, or audio into your site that doesn’t belong to you.
YouTube and other video services don’t just bring in the video, they bring in the branded video player, as do many audio embeds.
If you properly embed a flickr image, it comes with a citation link back to the flickr account and source.
What about links, called hot links, to content that doesn’t bring its branding and citation with it?
Make every effort to cite the source in a link. If you cannot, consider looking elsewhere for similar or related content.
The citation link must be close to the multimedia when you publish it. It can be before, after, or in the caption, as long as it is made clear that this content does not belong to you and you have made every attempt to identify the source.
Play it safe. While you do not need permission to link to web pages and online resources, publishing the content created by someone else requires a proper citation and credit.
For more information:
- Biggest Copyright Infringement in the World But Nobody Cares Enough « Lorelle on WordPress
- Stop Content Theft Buttons and Badges « Lorelle on WordPress
- What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content
- Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today