New York state (US) here. I am putting together a presentation for my company and found a PDF online that I would like to provide a link to, so that anyone reviewing my presentation after the fact can click, download and read.

I am not the author of the PDF nor do I have any association with the author or the company for whom the work was published. Its subject material is simply relevant to my presentation.

Because I need a reliable link to this PDF, and because I don't have any control over its online hosting, I would like to download this PDF, store it on a company drive, and then provide links to it (as its stored on the drive) from my presentation.

That way, if someone views my presentation, say, 5 years from now, they'll still have access to it because the PDF is hosted from our own infrastructure.

Is it legal to do this? That is, can I:

  1. download the PDF from the external website where its hosted
  2. save it on our drive
  3. reference it (as its hosted from our drive) in my presentation
  4. all without the express consent of the PDF author or the organization for whom the PDF is hosted by

1 Answer 1


No, that would infringe copyright.

Unless the copyright holder has released the PDF under a free license, or in some way granted permission to make copies of it, making such a copy and hosting it on your company server would infringe the holder's copyright. 17 USC sec 106 says that:

the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;


(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

Making a copy in his way would clearly cio0late 17 USC 106 (1) and possibly 17 USC 106 (3), as posting to the web is a form of distribution. Note that it is likely thst the copyright is held by the author's employer, not by the author, although either is possible.

If you do this, the holder could sue for damages. If there is no economic impact, the chance of a suit is not large, although a DMCA takedown notice is more likely. But the holder could sue if it chooses to.

Why do you not want to ask for permission? It might well be granted.

Alternatively, a copy might have been archived with the Internet Archive or another archive site, which would be a stable location that y0u could freely link to.

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