I am creating an app where users can save the links of the contents they like in the app. The app fetches the thumbnail image of the related content and shows them along with the length of the content through the APIs that youtube and spotify provides.

My question is if it is legal to show these images and the length of the content. Could there be a workaround like maybe blurring it if it is not?

In current apps like whatsapp, we see the thumbnails as soon as we share the link. I don't know if it is somehow special to them.

I would love to learn more about this. Thanks for any help!

1 Answer 1


This is not legal advice for your specific situation. If you need that, you need to see a lawyer in your juristiction.

But generally speaking:

The preview you see when you paste a link into a chat window, for example in Teams or Facebook, is built on the Open Graph Protocol, an optional part of a website that the owner can include if they want their page displayed in such a neat little preview.

The protocol was made for this purpose, to give third parties access to previews and thumbnails.

If this is available, the website owner did extra work to implement this and make it publicly accessible. That didn't happen by random chance. I would assume that when someone spends extra time and money to make something publicly accessible for free, that they want third parties to use it.

However, if it is not... then scraping the website content yourself is not okay. It is their content, you have to follow the copyright rules, and terms of use in case you have an account.

Even if they do have it, it is a bit of a grey area if you can store those thumbnails. Storing something comes with a lot of extra legal attention and scrutiny. Let your user's device/browser use that API. Then every time the user looks at the link, they have a fresh preview as the owner of the site wanted it, including maybe takedowns and bans that happened in the meantime.

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