Online Newspaper Articles

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Bright Dream
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Online Newspaper Articles

Post by Bright Dream » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:42 am

Is it a breach of copyright to reproduce an article in a blog that has appeared on the website of a newspaper? The blog owner did not indicate that the article was not written by him, it was only when I queried the content that he admitted that it had been lifted from the newspaper's website. When I queried the possibility that this could be in breach of copyright he replied that once it is on the internet it is in the public domain. The blog is part of his website which is a classified ads website for the sale of dogs. The articles on the blog are dog-related and I presume they are intended to attract traffic to the classified adverts section of the website. He posts links to his blog and website on his Facebook page which is how I became aware of it. After his reply I went back through his older blog posts and it seems that many of them have been copied in the same way. I don't want to get the guy into trouble as I think he is being naive about the copyright rather that deliberately breaching it. I am posting this because I am not 100% certain that he is actually breaching copyright and want to get my facts right.

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:52 pm

It sounds like your friend is indeed being naive and breaching copyright.

The statement 'once it is on the internet it is in the public domain' demonstrates a misunderstanding of copyright law. Virtually ALL content on the Internet IS subject to copyright and protected under law.

Under copyright law, the term 'public domain' means that copyright has expired - in the case of a literary work such as a newspaper article this will not be until the end of the calendar year 70 years after the death of the author. i.e. The famous writer Orson Welles died October 10, 1985. Copyright will therefore expire at the end of 2022 (his work will be in the public domain from midnight (00:00) January 1st 2056).

It does not matter how or where a work is published, in a book, on the Internet or on the back of a cornflakes packet, etc. (you get the idea), the same duration will apply.

Unless the work has a licence that allows this type of activity (such as some Creative Commons licences), in order to re-publish someone else's work on his site he does need the permission of the owner (normally the author). He may also be expected to pay a licencing fee or royalties.

It is likely that his infringement has either not been noticed by the rights owner or that they have turned a blind eye (it may not be worth their effort to pursue this at the moment). Either way he is on dodgy ground and is likely to attract complaints sooner or later.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:49 pm

CopyrightAid's answer is entirely correct. The only way it is possible to use someone else's material in the way that the OP's blog owning friend did is to quote a part of the news item, with a full attribution to the original author, under the fair dealing rules (Section 30) for the purposes of criticism, review or news reporting.
In other words if the blogger said something like

"... in today's Daily Globe, Quentin Scribe says ''dogs are wonderful companions and taste good too" and I fully agree with him on that"

then he would not be infringing copyright. As an aside, the 'news reporting' fair use exemption does not permit the copying of photographs, but it is the reason certain newspapers are able to refer to the stories their rivals are carrying that same day.
Mr Rupert Murdoch, who owns News International, is currently on a crusade against certain news-aggregating sites which [ab]use this exemption to quote very large chunks of stories they have lifted from other news sites.

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Post by Bright Dream » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:42 pm

Hi CopyrightAid and Andy J, many thanks for your quick and thorough explanations, I think I will pm the person in question and send him a link to this topic, as you have explained the whole copyright issue far better than I could. I feel it might not go down too well, but at the end of the day it is his business that could be affected, having read some of the other posts on this forum I understand that his website could be closed down if his ISP was informed that he was breaching copyright, so maybe be he would be wise to heed a warning.

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