I've built a website (actually, an API, but that data will be used on a website) that provides people with real time data they can use in their own websites and apps.

One part of that API is a list of useful images from third parties. such as charts and graphs. In the past these images would just be proxied through without modification, so the user would essentially be downloading the images, on demand, from the third party server.

This works fine, however some of these images take forever to load (in one case, 45+ seconds) or aren't always available, so I'm considering downloading the images locally to speed up load times and increase availability.

There's two parts to the API. The first is the locally cached set of images (e.g. example.com/images/cloudcover.jpg), the second is an endpoint a programmer can call that will return a list of images which includes the local URL, AND the original URL (e.g. example.com/api/v1/images)

Some of the images come from sites that have text such as:

All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be copied without explicit permission from the owner.

Which seems pretty clear-cut. No copying without explicit permission.

However I'm not sure about my use case, which is to cache these images and serve up the cached version.

In 2018 Google was forced to remove the "View Image" button from their image search results due to issues over caching so I think that may affect things, but I'm not sure.

Any clues would be greatly appreciated :)

1 Answer 1


If you are simply linking to the original images, without downloading, then that's fine, unless you or they are in EU.

Once you start downloading, then that's illegal (copyright infringement) everywhere.

Without caching it might take forever to load, but at least that's legal.

  • Could you back up this answer? Specifically, could you clarify why you consider downloading (receiving) the data to be "illegal", and what EU law you believe linking to the images to be in violation of? Jun 12, 2019 at 14:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .