Copyright in ‘snippets’ online

copyrightNearly all businesses operate websites that usually include a blog page, twitter feed or reference to a third party site. Contained within this information may be a reference to a third parties article either via a link or a snippet of the article has been cut and past into the body of the text.

Whilst this may seem trivial it has been decided by the courts that the taking of an 11 word ‘snippet’ from a third parties article for use on your own website constitutes copyright infringement (Infopaq International v Danske Dagblades Forening).

In the Infopaq case the European Court of Justice held the reproduction of 11 words from a considerably larger article amounted to copying a ‘substantial part’ and therefore the snippet was infringing the author’s copyright.

This case is important for all businesses who operate websites and regularly refer to third party material, if you are directly copying even a small amount of text from a third party source you may be in breach of copyright.

For further information on copyright matters please contact Edward Webb on 0116 264 3430.