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Answered By Library Staff
Last Updated: Aug 05, 2020     Views: 11

Typically, linking is an acceptable form of sharing information to your students and is not making a copy of the content. Therefore, the act is not seen as breaking copyright law. It is actually preferred that you link to an article, blog post, image, or etc. over downloading and uploading a file copy of the material to share with students. 

However, be sure that what you are linking to was posted legally. Just because it is online does not mean the poster had the rights to the content. It could be that the copyright holder does not know the material was posted and just hasn't issued a takedown notice. This is why the DMCA exists (where copyright holders can issue takedown notices to those who upload content to other platforms, not holding the platform liable but the poster. Learn more here). It is important to verify the credentials of posters on any website/platform. If you need help doing that, please contact Librarian Amanda Ross at 

Also, there is sometimes a difference in linking vs. embedding. Sometimes, embedding can be problematic and lead to copyright issues. Embedding populates an image or other copyrighted material within another page controlled by someone else/another platform (like Blackboard or your blog). This is sometimes called "framing." Many platforms, like YouTube, offer embed codes so you can share content in this way and make your site posts visually attractive. It also keeps people on your site, instead of, say, opening in a new tab for them to view the content with just a link. The content is embedded in yours. However, if you are embedding through a feature on your page which takes a URL to regenerate the content as if you had uploaded it (many platforms actually offer this), this could be seen as a potential violation because there is no "frame" for the content and the creator might not have uploaded to a place that encourages embedding. This is typically an issue for images or GIF sharing. It looks as though you have uploaded the content (though it is really just forcing your browser to pull content from another site via the media's URL). This form of embedding is where you could run into issues. 

That said, depending on how and where and why you embed content, it could support a Fair Use analysis regardless. Learn more about Fair Use by searching our FAQ. 

See the links below to more information.