It’s tough constantly coming up with original material for our blogs and social media sites. Believe me, fellow bloggers and writers, I feel your pain.
I recently responded to an aspiring blogger’s query regarding the extent to which one can legally re-print articles and use information from articles in newspapers.
Here’s my response:
Many bloggers use material from other blogs and sources. Facts and raw ideas by themselves are not protected by copyright. Hence, if you see, for example, a news article on the recent ebook/digital rights settlement between Random House and the Wylie Agency, you can write a blog posting using the facts/information from that news article as long as you express the facts/information in your own words.
I suggest not doing a re-write or extensive paraphrasing of another source even when attribution is given. It is copyright infringement. In contrast, it is likely not copyright infringement if you use quotes from a blog posting or article for the purpose of adding your own substantive commentary. How much you may quote depends on a fair use analysis. Unfortunately, there is no bright line rule in determining what qualifies as fair use. Whether or not a particular use qualifies as a fair use depends on the specific circumstances.
For More Information on How Much You Can Copy:
- Blog Posting: Bloggers’ Common Legal Questions. Part Three (Covers “Do I Need Permission to Use Other People’s Material on My Blog?”)
- Blog Posting: Staying Legal When Using Quotes
- My Book: The Cyber Citizen’s Guide Through the Legal Jungle: Internet Law for Your Professional Online Presence (Check the table of contents)
My Book: The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through the Legal Jungle: Clearing Copyrights, Trademarks, and Other Rights for Entertainment and Media Productions (Check the table of contents)