Copyright of material on a website

Tilak Marg Forum for Legal Questions Forums Intellectual Property Copyright of material on a website

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Dr. Ashok Dhamija Dr. Ashok Dhamija 1 year, 4 months ago.

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  • #1392


    I have a website where I give news reports and some opinion based articles. is it OK if I copy some material from other website and then post it on my website? Generally I find that such material exist on many sites together which means already some websites are copying the same material. Can I also copy such material and post it on my website?

  • #1394

    Copyright is a protection provided to the original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and cinematograph films. Copyright gives an exclusive right in respect of such original works to reproduce the work, distribute, prepare copies, perform in public, to translate, to make adaptation of the work, etc. 

    Original work gets copyrighted at the moment of its creation in a tangible form. It is not mandatory to specifically register it as a copyrighted work, though it may be advisable. 

    A website, including its content, graphics, visual elements, etc., is considered to be copyrighted at the time of development if such content etc. is original. Usually, the copyright notice is put on the bottom of a website. Such notice implies that the material displayed on the website is not to be used without permission of the owner of the website. However, even if such copyright notice is not displayed at the bottom of the website, the website content may be deemed to have been copyrighted at the time of its creation, if it is an original content. 

    Sometimes, a Creative Commons (CC) license is displayed on a website which is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an original work which is otherwise a copyrighted work. A CC license is used when the author of a copyrighted work wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that he has created. It is up to such author of a CC license whether to permit free commercial use of his work or to put some other conditions on the free use of such work.

    If a particular content on a website is copyrighted, you should not copy it and put it on your own website, without the specific permission of the author / owner of such content. This is so even if other websites might have copied that content and put it on their own websites. If ten other persons have committed an offence in respect of something, then that does not mean that you also get a license to commit a similar offence.

    Of course, if a particular content carries a Creative Commons license or some other public license which allows free use of such content, with or without certain conditions specified, then such content can be used by observing those conditions, if any. It is also advisable to give credit to the author of such content.


    Dr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate and author of law books. Read more about him by clicking here. List of his Forum Replies. List of his other articles. List of his Quora Answers.

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