What is the legal difference between embedding an image on a website and displaying a copy of the image? News organizations and other website publications have relied on the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., which established a bright-line server test for determining whether a website displayed a copy of an image, and thus potentially infringed upon the owner’s copyright in that image for the past ten years. According to the server test, a website operator displays an image if it sends a copy of the image from its server to the end user’s browser, but does not display an image if it merely embeds instructions (HTML) in its webpage that enable the end user’s browser to request the image from a third party’s server.
On February 15, 2018, District Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the Southern District of New York opened the door to new copyright infringement suits in the Second Circuit and beyond with her ruling in Goldman v. Breitbart News Network, LLC.
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