Free Speech Victory! Embedded Links to Photos Don’t Infringe Copyrights

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Victory! Embedded Links to Photos on Instagram Don’t Infringe Photographers’ Copyrights, Court Rules

(EFF) – Every day, we visit websites or read news articles that contain photos embedded from somewhere else, usually other websites or servers where the images were first published or stored. What’s happening behind the scenes when you click on a website chock full of photos and text is a basic function of the internet—inline linking—that is frequently and improperly attacked as facilitating copyright infringement.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a ruling published this week, made clear that linking does not constitute infringement, and kept in place an important test to determine under what circumstances entities can be held liable for displaying copyrighted content online.

Linking is a central feature of the web, but some copyright holders aren’t too fond of it, claiming it facilitates infringement because websites can show images they own and platforms that host content allow those websites to embed the images.

Like it or not, copyright holders have hit a wall, as they did this week, when they’ve taken their infringement claims to the 9th Circuit. The court yesterday upheld dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit, Hunley v. Instagram, brought by two photographers against Instagram for permitting BuzzFeed News and Time magazine to embed their Instagram posts in news stories.

Citing its landmark…

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