Emailed Excerpts--How Do They Work?
March 17, 2013 7:48 PM   Subscribe

Every weekday I get an email from Delancey Place with an interesting excerpt from a book. Can you help me figure out how they avoid copyright infringement?

Delancey Place's daily emails are in the format of a paragraph of context followed by a 3-5 paragraph excerpt from a book. I love them and have an idea for something similar, but I'm curious how they send these emails without stepping on anyone's copyright.

Possibly relevant facts:
- Delancey Place is a not-for-profit organization that donates their proceeds to charity.
- They don't sell advertising, but may benefit from Amazon affiliate links.
- Speaking of, they link to the Amazon listing for every book they excerpt, so it seems like they're not undermining the copyright holders ability to profit--in fact, they might be bringing them business.
- It looks like they will remove content if a copyright holder complains.

Here's a link to their FAQ. Is it simply that the excerpts are small enough to be considered fair use? I'm not looking for legal advice really, but I'm curious what avenues to investigate further for my own idea.
posted by Colonel_Chappy to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Are you sure they didn't just get permission? There are at least two other companies I know of who do the same thing, and I have worked with them for both paid and free placement (that is, the publisher pays them).
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:53 PM on March 17, 2013

Looks like they're relying upon some combination of fair use and not fighting if served with a C&D.
posted by valkyryn at 1:56 AM on March 18, 2013

It may be fair use. Or it may very well be copyright infringement. It doesn't follow that a practice is legal just because someone is getting away with it.

There are a lot of music blogs that host songs for free download without the copyright holder's permission. They operate in much this same way: provide links to try to make it as acceptable as possible to the artist/label, and agree to take the songs down as soon as they get a takedown request or cease-and-desist letter.
posted by payoto at 5:53 AM on March 18, 2013

My guess is that if they aren't being paid by publishers to include the excerpts, it's just fair use. They are really presenting very little of the book, and they are clearly trying to sell it to you, which is something the author and publisher should want. People are stupid, but I'd be pretty surprised if they get much in the way of cease and desist requests even if they do not have permission.
posted by OmieWise at 6:33 AM on March 18, 2013

Nitpick: They donate "all profits", not "all proceeds".

The OP wrote:
Possibly relevant facts:
- Delancey Place is a not-for-profit organization that donates their proceeds to charity.

Their FAQ:
"All profits from Delanceyplace are donated to charity."
posted by at at 4:10 PM on March 18, 2013

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