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Blog posts and translations

 
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iopy
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject: Blog posts and translations Reply with quote

Hello,

I would like to know if it is OK to translate a blog post (from techcrunch[dot]com for example), and to put the translation on my personal public website (with a link to the source of course)

Thanks in advance
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi iopy,
Your question raises a number of issues which are worth expanding on a bit.
Firstly taking your example of Techcrunch.com, this site is of course owned by Aol. The bigger the company involved, the more likely you are to run into legal problems (assuming there is a problem, of course) because these companies have large legal departments and deep pockets, together with a policy of pro-actively protecting their Intellectual Property. The fact that Aol owns the site also means that the site comes under the US jurisdiction and we should firstly look at the issues in terms of what US Copyright law says. You will need to consider these factors (site ownership and relevant jurisdiction) in relation to all the sources you are considering using.
Blog posts are protected by copyright if it can be shown that they are "original works of authorship" -broadly that they originate from a human mind and involve a bit of 'sweat of the brow'. That's the US definition, but it is substantially the same in the UK and most other jurisdictions, especially those countries that have signed up to the Berne Convention on copyright.
Making a translation of a copyright work is referred to as an adaptation or derivative work, and without the permission of the original author, this would be infringement, because it is substantially the same ideas and creativity of the original work, but expressed in a another language. Incidently, because a translator also expends sweat of the brow (ie skill and knowledge) in making a translation he would normally be entitled to the copyright in his translation as a separate work, providing that permission had been obtained from the original author beforehand.
But US law also encompasses a doctrine known as fair use, which broadly allows a certain amount of copying for example, for the purposes of criticism or news reporting or research but subject to a number of tests (for more details see here: 17 USC 107). So if your purpose in quoting these original articles can broadly be defined as criticism or review, and you are careful to cite your sources, then you may be OK if there is no intention of making commercial use of the translations. But whilst this would be fine for most normal blog posts and the like, you need to bear in mind my earlier comments about the attitude of sites such as TechCrunch and the increased likelihood of Aol objecting. That said the most likely action they might take is to ask you to remove the translation.
But since you propose to put a link to the original blog posts on your own site, why not make these Google translate links, so that your readers effectively create their own translations as they click on the link. This absolves you from liability for infringement and because each Google translate link is for the private purposes of the individual who creates the connection, they are effectively outside the copyright regime. Or more specifically, if Aol has a problem with this, they need to take it up with Google, not you!
I hope this helps.
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Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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iopy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi AndyJ,
First of all, thanks a lot for your answer.
Well, it seems to be really hard to really fit in the law with these kind of things. I wanted to do a website where everyone could translate posts from other blogs, and post them on it, to get some well translated posts for other-languages-than-their-native-language-phobic people. That is why I cannot use google. I think I am going to blow this idea out of my mind.
Anyway, thanks a lot for taking time to answer.
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi iopy,
Don't give up right away. Of course another way to approach this is to ask the individual bloggers for permission re-post their work in another language. I suspect that most of them would be more than happy to reach a wider audience and therefore agree without hesitation. Afterall it is fairly widely accepted amongst bloggers (and Tweeters) that bits of their posts will be quoted elsewhere, and they will still get a credit on your site. Once you have the permission of each blogger, then the owners of the host site are no longer relevant.
Good luck with the venture
Andy
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iopy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi AndyJ,
I will contact some websites and see what the major part of them will answer me. If most of them are OK, I will keep this idea in mind, and maybe begin to work on it. But as you said, it can only be more audience for them, so why would they refuse ?

Thanks a lot again!
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