ownership of a web page

*draft* before I forget

Once a user downloads a web page, that web page is technically theirs to do whatever they want, print it, mark it up, annotate it, etc. Doesn't mean the content on that web page is theirs nor is the code, yes from a technical (I have it in my possession) standpoint but no from a copyright standpoint. Once a page is downloaded or even as it's loading, that user technically "owns" that page. This isn't any different from downloading anything off the web, an .mp3 file, a .xls file, a word document, a pdf file. Once a document is in my hands, on my computer, it's mine.

I'm curious to see if other folks agree or disagree or if I'm once again just stating the obvious. I'm not necessarily sure that what I've mentioned is clear or even necessary for folks to understand.

2 Replies to “ownership of a web page”

  1. > Once a user downloads a web page, that web page is technically theirs to do whatever they want, print it, mark it up, annotate it, etc

    This is not technically true. A web page is no different than a TV show which although can be recorded, still retains its copyright. When you download a page to your computer you are making a copy of it and that copy is subject to copyright laws.

    I'm not an attorney, but I work for a company that is grappling with this very issue. The company is called JumpKNowledge (located at http://jkn.com) and we have a service that allows anyone to annotate any web page.

    Wait, you may ask, how can you offer that service, if you just said that copying a web page is still subject to copyright? The answer is simple: you are the one who is responsible to judge if the annotation complies with "fair use" statutes. The same rule applies to a web page that you download locally. Although you can annotate it, the web page never loses it's copyright.

    I annotated jkn's Terms of Service so you can understand how we handled this issue. You can read it here: http://jkn.com/View?j=776452.623047127090


  2. We're saying the same thing. I'll take a look at your TOS. Once a page is downloaded you can do what you want with it for personal/fair use and through the terms provided by the owner of that page/service.

    Just as with a tv show, if you record it and want to interlace a family video with that show, use it's theme song, whatever, that yours to do what you want. You just can't sell that work. You could even post that work on YouTube.

    The easy measure is if you're not looking to make money off the work/web page/tv show that you download or record, you're fine. But that tv show, web page is technically yours.

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