With the recent redesign of delicious.com, they've added a much more graphical home page. The site continues to be a service for people to bookmark and share websites they come across on the web. The delicious home is now made up of images taken from those linked sites. See for yourself at http://delicious.com

I would like to know what in the law allows them to do this, considering the images represent the main content of the page, and they clearly do not own copyright to those images? I know there is some leeway given to search engines where it is considered fair use to use a small portion of the content if the aim is to lead people to the originating site. Does that apply here?

2 Answers 2


Yes, it basically falls under Fair Use*.
What they're showing is just an excerpt in one form or another, and there's absolutely no claim that they own the content or represent the companies whose trademarks etc. are being displayed, nor would any reasonable person be confused as to that fact. A lot of copyright "infringement" can be attributed to people simply not knowing they shouldn't be using something; tell them to take it down and if they do it's done with. Proving infringement for purposes of something like a lawsuit is going to require something closer to showing actual intent to infringe or mislead.

*Though note that Fair Use is a specifically US concept that may have different names/interpretations in other parts of the world, if it even exists there. It's conceivable though pretty unlikely that a copyright/trademark holder in one of those other places might decide to go after them and maybe have a valid case.


Good question.

However, have you ever thought how many Coke or Nike logos are being used around the world without their consentiment? Actually, only if it is Pepsico or another giant they would mind. Otherwise, it is just publicity. Free publicity.

Another interestig point is... most licenses in the internet material nowadays are free for non-commercial use, which means websites as delicious and most blogs can use them without worry, as well as they aren't actually selling anything directly or using those images for promoting a product.

That's all the point.

For last, I did open the delicious first page, and got to search all legal information for all photos. There is no single photo with highly restrictive copyright license. All of them, without exception are completely free or free for non-commercial use. May be just a coincidence, or maybe delicious fellas did antecipate this point and made up a license crawler to find out which images they can use from each page.

  • How did you find the licenses for the photos?
    – Stanish
    Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 22:52
  • 3
    "free for non-commercial use" does NOT mean "you can use it anywhere as long as you're not selling it". Delicious is a commercial website, therefore any age they put on their pages is commercial use. Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 0:18
  • 1
    That comment about most licenses is simply not true. Copyright, the original restrictive kind, is granted automatically by virtue of publishing something; that includes the holder not posting a copyright notice at all(though it helps). Things like "free for non-commercial use" and Creative Commons licenses need to be explicitly declared and require someone knowing about them in the first place.
    – Su'
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 10:50
  • @Stanish go to the current website they are linking to and look for the licenses information. DisgruntledGoat: true. Can you provide a more insightful answer to Stanish? Su' you just mentioned the biggest hole with cyberlaw. How can someone from Canada prosecute me in Bangladesh? Where this trial should run? Which laws should be applied in order to make a fair trial? What is an infrigement in one place, may not be in another, but internet makers and users rarely are specialist in international rights. Commented Nov 28, 2011 at 0:02

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