European Courts Decide Whether You Can You Post Content That Is Freely Available On The Internet.

Takeaway: Be careful about what you post on your own website if you do not have permission to do so from the original creator. Before adding third-party content to your own website it is advisable to receive permission first.

Recently a secondary school student downloaded a photo that was posted online to use in a presentation at school without the original poster’s permission. After the child’s presentation, the child’s school posted a photo of the presentation on their own website.

Subsequently, the owner of the original photo sued the school for copyright infringement and 400 euros in damages in Germany. The court found that when someone uses a photo in a different location (i.e. on a different website) from the original photo, without permission, they are taking away from the traffic to the owner’s website and ultimately denying the artist any resulting revenue of that traffic.

The court found that even though the photo was freely available, a new poster must first seek permission to repost the photo on a different website. This is because the reposting of the photo makes it available to a “new public” of people online. Therefore, the court found that any reposting of content by a third-party without consent will be regarded as copyright infringement.