Copyright and Linking on the Web

The below recommendations were provided by Library and Information Management

Linking to materials on the web hosted on someone else’s page is acceptable, as long as the page is publicly accessible and not behind a paywall or protected by a password. It is possible that the page owner may complain about the link, and if the link is removed at the page owner’s request there is no conflict. (Refusing to remove a link may lead to a cease and desist order after multiple refusals).

If the page being linked to is illegally using images or content, our risk is still considered minor, as courts have ruled that the person who creates a link to a page that infringes on copyright is protected by the law, but the person who uploaded the material and the people who downloaded it are liable.

The risk with linking out is that the person who created the external link may take it down, change the address (URL), or change the content whenever they like. It is recommended that users link to stable resources and use a permalink whenever possible.

Regarding YouTube videos, a creator who uploads videos to YouTube has three choices for the level of access they choose: public, private or unlisted.

  • Public videos can be used by anyone
  • Unlisted videos have unpublished links, but the creator can see the link, and anyone who is sent this link can view the materials.
  • Private videos can only be viewed by individuals to whom the creator has given explicit access. Only the creator of the video can grant access, not someone who has been granted access by the creator; this access cannot be transferred to someone else by a user. This is like the rule about distributing journal articles – the publisher has the sole right of distribution. These could not be put into Blackboard, unless the creator is by a Faculty member who has given permission to use their content.
  1. Visit the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (a database of almost 500 billion saved snapshots of web pages)
  2. Cut and paste the URL of the page you want preserved into the box under “Save Page Now” on the right-hand side of the screen and click “SAVE PAGE”
  3. The Wayback Machine will create a permalink to the page (hosted by the Wayback Machine) which will pop up within a few seconds of clicking “SAVE PAGE”
  4. Save this permalink and use it in course materials and on Blackboard

See Also: Alumni Medical Library: Copyright, Intellectual Property & Patents