If you right click in this website and select "View page source", you can find between hundreds of lines of code the following:

    <meta name="twitter:card" content="summary">
    <meta name="twitter:domain" content="law.stackexchange.com"/>
    <meta property="og:type" content="website" />
    <meta property="og:image" itemprop="image primaryImageOfPage" content="http://cdn.sstatic.net/law/img/apple-touch-icon.png?v=ff6a1ab1aaef&a" />
    <meta name="twitter:title" property="og:title" itemprop="title name" content="Ask a Question" />
    <meta name="twitter:description" property="og:description" itemprop="description" content="Q&amp;A for legal professionals, students, and others with experience or interest in law" />

This information is normally set in order to be found in web search engines or to share in social networks. For example, the meta property called "og:image" contains the link of an image that will be published if we copy/paste this url in Facebook. Or the "meta tags" (not available on this website) will allow some old fashioned search engines find your website.

So as this information is meant to be public in order to get found, is there any problem if I copy this information and publish it in another website with attribution? What about the image?

1 Answer 1


Please Note: This was written before the title change of this question and may no longer be applicable

According to the Harvard website:

In Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co. 499 US 340 (1991) the United States Supreme Court held that copyright does not extend to a mere compilation of facts. In this case, it was a telephone directory much the same as the one in ProCD v. Zeidenberg 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996). Furthermore, the Court also ruled that something more than simple "sweat of the brow" labor was required before copyright protection would ensue, with some modicum of authorial originality necessary. Accordingly, it was held in Feist that copyright did not extend to a telephone directory, no matter how laborious a task its compilation was. The decision in ProCD v. Zeidenberg 86 F. 3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996) is highly significant, therefore, in that it permits copyright or quasi-copyright protection to be extended to non-copyrightable material through the use of contract.

One would have to consider each meta tag independently. For example, the "description" tag could by copyrightable since it is written for more than just the 'facts', such as a subtle advert for the site that is more than an objective description. However the 'og:type' would not be copyrightable since it would just be considered a fact.

Now, if you are using it on another website and sourcing it properly, you could probably use it under "Fair Use"

Uses That Are Generally Fair Uses Subject to some general limitations discussed later in this article, the following types of uses are usually deemed fair uses:

  • Criticism and comment -- for example, quoting or excerpting a work in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment.
  • News reporting -- for example, summarizing an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report.
  • Research and scholarship -- for example, quoting a short passage in a scholarly, scientific, or technical work for illustration or clarification of the author's observations.
  • Nonprofit educational uses -- for example, photocopying of limited portions of written works by teachers for classroom use.
  • Parody -- that is, a work that ridicules another, usually well-known, work by imitating it in a comic way.

A copyright would exist on the image. One would have to know what license currently applies to the image to know for sure, however, the "Fair Use" to copyright would still apply.

With Fair Use, the entity type that uses the image is important. There is much more leniency when a non-profit uses copyrighted information than when the information is used in commercial activity. (With, of course, more exceptions.)

  • Note, however, that copyright restrictions only apply if the publisher or owner of the metadata assert a copyright for that content.
    – feetwet
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:38
  • By the way, this answer is based on United States information. I meant to ask about the controlling jurisdiction.
    – Andrew
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:38
  • 3
    @feetwet In general, Copyrights are formed at the moment of creation. That means that there does not have to be any assertion of an intent to copyright. No (c) is needed. However, the owner would have to pursue any infringement.
    – Andrew
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:39
  • Is specifying any content in the Opengraph tags allowing certain types of usage?
    – user151841
    Oct 18, 2019 at 15:58

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