10.08.08

Can I Copy That Article and Post It On My Web Site?

Generally, no.

Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright law, it is okay to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words or percentage of a work, but unofficially, a 300 word or 15% rule has been used (based on some informal policy of major New York publishing houses from the 1900s).

Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances. The Copyright Act sets out four factors to judge by (17 U.S.C. § 107):

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Generally, the best practice is to use the publication’s headline, write your own summary “Our Company was featured in Their Magazine,” and then link to the full article. Most of the local media, when notified that you’re linking to it, will keep an article up a little longer than their typical expiration, or give you a perma-link to it. I want more news