Legal to post newspaper article from free trial in an online forum

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Legal to post newspaper article from free trial in an online forum

Post by SofaDaze »


I would like to know if it infringes copyright law to post an article onto an online charity forum if this article has been obtained as part of a free online trial?

Thank you very much.
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Re: Legal to post newspaper article from free trial in an online forum

Post by AndyJ »

Hi SofaDaze and welcome to the forum,

The free online trial has no bearing on the copyright aspect. If you can manage with just quoting a snippet from the article (no more than a sentence or two) this would probably be covered by the quotation exception found in section 30 (1ZA) of the copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. But if it is essential that you use the whole article, you should try and get permission to reproduce the article. Since this is for a charity I would hope that the newspaper would not charge any fee for this.

There is a separate exception within section 30 (sub section (2) - same link as above) for the purpose of reporting current events, and so this might cover the use of the article, but you would need to be very sure that the article was only reporting on current events, and not, for instance, providing an opinion on the events or on any people involved in a particular current event. For example quoting an interview article or a newspaper editorial would not constitute 'current events' for the purpose of this exception. Because this is a very specific kind of exception I would not generally advise you to rely on it, especially as I would hope the route of getting permission should be straightforward. In the case of both exceptions (quotation and news reporting) it is essential that you cite the newspaper and its edition number or date where the article appeared.

Alternatively, if you run into any problem in getting permission, or the newspaper wishes to charge an unafforedable fee before it will give permission, it is perfectly legal for you to provide a link from your charity website to the article on the newspaper's own website (that is to say, hotlinking to it). As long as the article remains accessible on the same URL, that will not infringe any copyright. Most newspapers use so-called permalinks, meaning that even when the article is no longer on the current pages of their website, the reference number of the article (in the URL) will still point to the article in their archive. Obviously this method only works if the newsapaper has a digital edition.
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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