Publishing entire newspaper articles with annotations...

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Publishing entire newspaper articles with annotations...

Post by mattmeg »

An answer to this question would really help me out, thanks...

Would creating a website with scanned-in images of newspaper articles, heavily annotated, with criticism's by me, be likely to breach copyright laws?

Would any of the following have an affect on the legal situation...
1) Accepting donations on the website via paypal.
2) Selling posters or t-shirts, with one of the annotated articles on them (sold via the website also).
3) Using a scanned image of the newspaper article with the criticisms annotated overlaid and around the image.

I'm aware criticism is one of the uses for which one is allowed to distribute copyrighted material, but how far does this extend? I.e Can I use the entire article and the layout as it originally appeared in the newspaper and/or on the news vendor's website?

Thanks in advance,
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi Matt,
The criticism and review fair dealing exemption needs to be used with care. Reproducing the whole article would almost certainly constitute too much. In the current climate where the newspaper industry are on the offensive against the so-called 'scrapers' and aggregators (see the Meltwater case) your site could easily become a victim in the larger battle, even though your purpose is different.

I would suggest that you only quote those extracts you specifically intend to criticise or review. At present in the UK there is no problem with hotlinking to the original text if it is a website, and you need your readers to get the full idea of the article under review. Obviously you can't do this if you are referring to a paper-based article. It would be unwise to link to anything behind a paywall, as this will undoubtedly break the conditions of use for that site.

The fact that you earn income or have paid advertisements on the site doesn't really change the fair dealing situation in the UK (although under US law, in determining if something is fair use, the commercial nature of the context is relevant).

Also where you do quote bits from newspapers or news websites, be sure to give adequate citation of the source.

If you feel that only quoting small sections will not meet your needs, speak to the Newspaper Licensing Agency about getting a licence to reproduce the articles.
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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