I would like to know if it is legal to download the content of a website and display it in my own?

There is one way to include a website inside another: <iframe> (w3schools description)

However, some websites decide that they don't want to get iframed. For example Google doesn't allow other websites to frame their content. This has of course certain reasons. There is a very simple option, the X-Frame-Option that can tell a browser that it must not render a page withing a frame if it is not from the same origin as the page itself.

So far so good. Just for the sake of completeness I want to say that it's still possible to display just the content of another website. The most trivial one would be to hit CTRL + S on my keyboard, save the website and host it on another server. A more sophisticated of course would be to write a program that does that for me. One could simply download the HTML page and embed the result into another.

I can imagine that e.g. copyright could be an issue. But what if my site states that it does not own the content etc. and that it did not modify anything and so on.

Is there a way that this could be legal?


What is with this example? https://proxy-nl.hide.me allows you to enter any URL and e.g. specify that it should remove JavaScript code. This allows you to see even www.theindependent.com, which tries to take counter measures against embedding their site, under another domain.

  • A proxy doesn't violate copyright as it simply passes the data along. However, modifying the code without permission wouldn't be allowed as it is creating a derivative work of somebody else's content.
    – Ken Sharp
    Apr 13, 2018 at 12:33
  • @KenSharp how does it not violate copyright? I thought copyright meant writing and recording it somewhere, and in order to load the website, the server must record it in ram. How is this different than loading an illegal program into ram on ones own computer, which (Im pretty sure) is considered illegal? Apr 23, 2020 at 5:41
  • "Recording in RAM"? You mean like your computer does? Too ridiculous to answer.
    – Ken Sharp
    May 3, 2020 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


You are in breach of Copyright. Plain and simple.

Certain websites allow you to use the website content as long as a link is made, but the website must clearly state that. You may also use a tiny portion of the content if it falls under Fair Use, where "Fair Use" does not mean "I want to".

The best thing to do is not to do it. You can't copy anybody's work without consent.

If you're thinking about Google specifically then they offer multiple APIs so that you can use their content in a wide variety of ways.

  • 1
    I have added an example to my question regarding a proxy service. Such a proxy service actually does exactly what I mean. This - a proxy service that one can use to stay e.g. anonymous - downloads an article from theindependent.com, removes JavaScript etc. and sends you the naked web-page. Feb 5, 2016 at 11:31
  • 1
    Can you add a bit that explains how Google cached pages and/or the Internet archive work? Because these are apparently doing what the user asks. Do they get permission first?
    – Patrick87
    Feb 5, 2016 at 13:07
  • 1
    They are also violating copyright. They "get away with it" because people either don't care (in the case of the Archive) or it's preferable to have that kind of exposure (in the case of Google - who wouldn't want Google to promote your site?). In Google's case they will not archive your site if you tell them not to, and will remove data if they're told. Google has been in trouble recently for violating copyright on printed texts (goo.gl/MqgPI9). As for dodgy proxy sites: do you really need to ask if they have permission?
    – Ken Sharp
    Feb 7, 2016 at 12:35
  • Also worth a read: blog.hubspot.com/marketing/internet-copyright-law-failure
    – Ken Sharp
    Feb 7, 2016 at 12:35
  • 1
    @bdb484: I think you are, and yes, there are lots of exceptions to copyright, but why do you think this is one of them? (Preferably as an answer.) Apr 6, 2018 at 7:42

It very well may be a copyright violation. It is definitely not a "plain and simple" copyright violation. Anyone who proffers an unequivocal answer to a legal question without asking any follow-up questions -- especially in an area as nuanced as copyright -- should not be trusted. At all.

At this point, it's impossible to answer your question because we don't have enough information. It sounds like the owner could establish that this meets all the elements of a copyright violation, but it's not at all clear whether it falls into any exception, e.g., fair use, or some weird, narrow area of First Amendment-protected expression that isn't yet recognized as fair use.

To get a fuller answer, you could provide more information about the factors that a court would consider when evaluating a fair-use defense:

  • the nature of the original work;
  • the nature of your use of the original work;
  • the amount of the original work you're copying, relative to the whole; and
  • the effect of the copying on the value or market for the original work.

With that information we could get a better idea of whether this is an acceptable use.

At one extreme, you might be making a mini-Amazon.com where you scrape and rehost the entire site and then funnel sales through your own company. If that's the case, be prepared to cease and desist.

But at the other end, you might just be grabbing a single page off of a site so you can mark it up to criticize web design, or annotate a transcript of a politician's speech to show how full of lies it is. In that case, you're probably in pretty safe fair-use, First Amendment territory.

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