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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

    
Are meta tags copyrighted?
countryman




msg:917796
 6:31 pm on Jan 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am building a human edited web directory, and wanted to know if the meta-tag description on a website is copyrighted.

Can I use the description in my human edited directory, exactly as they appear.

I know this most probably sounds a dumb question when you consider that SE spiders swipe them for use in the engines, but I just wonder what the legal position is here.

Any ideas?

Tony

 

hurlimann




msg:917797
 6:48 pm on Jan 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

The legal position is lawyers make a fortune on this very question.

In general the SE's use the defence of implied copyright. I guess you can use the same as the defence is not only available to bots.

Of course don't if the site says "do not copy our metatags".

too much information




msg:917798
 6:57 pm on Jan 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

On this issue I could argue that it is "fair use" because it is the description that they provide in the meta tag to describe their site for the search engines. Personally I think it is ok.

BigDave




msg:917799
 11:04 pm on Jan 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

My non-lawyer opinion is that it is what is being supplied as a way for others to describe that page, so there is certainly a good argument that it is implied permission to use the description *to describe that page*.

That is not to say that you have any implied permission to use that description for any other purpose, such as to copy it for use on one of your own pages.

Of course, that does not mean that you are clear of the possibility of being sued. There are certainly plenty of people that will at the very least, threaten legal action even when you are in the right.

Lord Majestic




msg:917800
 11:11 pm on Jan 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I know this most probably sounds a dumb question when you consider that SE spiders swipe them for use in the engines

IANAL but in the UK, meta tags and website product information is covered by database right, so you can't just take it and use it. Search engines don't compete in the same arena - unlike your direct competitor who can take your meta tags.

countryman




msg:917801
 8:34 am on Jan 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all your replies. Looks like I need to seek legal advice before proceding.

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