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Adding forum entries from a newspaper onto to my website

 
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Cornelius
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:33 am    Post subject: Adding forum entries from a newspaper onto to my website Reply with quote

I manage a blog commenting on educational matters. There is a well established educational newspaper which runs forums on topics which have great relevance to the topics I comment on in my blog. I would like to incorporate editied members' comments from the newspaper's forums section into certain pages on my blog.

Who owns the copyright of entries posted on the newspaper's forums? Would I be infringing the newspaper's copyright by reproducing large numbers of quotations from its forums on my blog? Confused
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Cornelius,
You need to check the terms and conditions on the newspaper's website. In all probability the individuals who post will retain copyright in their entries, but will have granted the newspaper forum a non-exclusive licence to publish and archive their work. There is an outside possibility that the newspaper has done a 'rights grab' and will claim that the posters have, by signing up to the service, agreed to assign all copyright to the paper.
Obviously you will have great difficulty in contacting the individual posters for permission to quote their postings, but it could well be that if you only want to quote small chunk of their comments, this would be covered under section 30 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, so long as you give an attribution for the quote.
The majority of blogs and tweets which re-cycle other people's news and comments rely on this exemption.
The formal and expensive alternative would be to get a website republishing licence from the Newspaper Licencing Agency, but frankly I do not think this is necessary if you only use small snippets.

Afternote. If the site you were referring to is the Times Educational Supplement, then as this is behind a paywall, you also need to check what the t&cs say about what you, as a subscriber, may do with regard to content. Annoyingly, their site does not put their t&cs outside the paywall so I can't check this.
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Cornelius
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Copying replies from forums Reply with quote

Thank you for that information -most useful. I was thinking of editing and quoting large chunks of comments that people have submitted to various forums on the website of educational newspaper. In your opinion would this be covered by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or would I be taking the p*ss? If I displayed prominent attributions would this suffice?
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Cornelius,
There's no hard and fast rule about how much is OK, and how much would constitute infringement. The key is the term 'fair dealing', in other words only quoting a fair amount in order to get the gist across. Hypothetically were this to be tested in court, the first test would be whether a substantial amount of the original had been copied, and here this means in terms of both quantity and quality, because clearly the reason you would want to quote something would be most likely to mean the essence of the posting (the quality aspect), something which would otherwise constitute 'substantial' in other tests for infringement. Then assuming that the amount was not very substantial, whether what was copied was the bare minimum necessary to serve the purpose of criticism or review.
So assuming you cannot just post links to the quotes, you need to be rigorous in your editing to make sure you don't just quote big chunks because it's convenient. Don't forget that you can paraphrase the postings as well, so long as you make it clear what is actual quotation.
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