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May 4, 2006 10:07 PM   Subscribe

Say a business has had various articles written about them in newspapers. Could that business then reproduce those articles on its own website, for informational purposes? e.g. 'Click here to see what the NYT had to say about us,' etc. I know that I could just link to the articles on the newspaper's site, but I can't guarantee that those will stay online.
posted by bingo to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Copying the entire article would be a violation of copyright. In principle you would need permission from the originating site.

But that's only if the copyright holder decides to get mean about it. In that case, the first thing they'd do is have their lawyer send you a C&D letter, and if you obeyed it they almost certainly wouldn't pursue it any further.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:26 PM on May 4, 2006

Legally? No, not without their express permission. They are probably unlikely to complain if you reference the author and the newspaper and link to their site. It's usually a win-win.
posted by zaebiz at 10:30 PM on May 4, 2006

You could quote portions of it, under the fair use clause, no?
posted by aeighty at 11:40 PM on May 4, 2006

The limits of the Fair Use exemptions are intentionally fuzzy, but in short there's 4 factors to consider:

1) purpose of the use (commercial, educational, profit/non-profit, etc.)
2) nature of the original work
3) what portion of the work is being copied
4) effect on the value of the original

If it's in a commercial context, you're copying the full text of an article that's available through the copyright holder & giving it to people who might otherwise buy it, that's pretty much all 4 factors against you. As always, you can check out Wikipedia's entry for more discussion.
posted by scalefree at 12:03 AM on May 5, 2006

Maybe you should try getting permission!
posted by aubilenon at 12:13 AM on May 5, 2006

Pull a juicy quote and embed a link to the full article.

E.g. "The New York Times recently called us '... the Frank Zappa of New York deli's, with a menu as delightful as it is surprising ..." (full article)

Or make the headline of the article the link and pull the first line or two as a teaser. That's how we list our theatre reviews (self link).

Also, what aubilenon said.
posted by zanni at 2:04 AM on May 5, 2006

Also: newspapers and magazines deal with these sort of requests all of the time, and usually have prices/procedures in place to make it quick and painless. (Last time I did this, it was for paper copies given to customers, but I assume they've woken up to the Web now.)

Look for the Reprints department, "Rights and Permissions," or equivalent on their contact sheet in the front of the magazine.

Here's the information for the NYT for example.
posted by mmoncur at 3:18 AM on May 5, 2006

Are you being specific about the NYT?

Because their URLs are a source of much frustration, but there are solutions. Here's the Archive Link Generator which will hopefully create a link that doesn't run out and doesn't require registration.

In more general terms, I would download and save the whole article just in case. I would also get a screen-shot of the article and display it, at say a tenth of the original size, as an image along with the quote, so that people get some kind of guarantee that they actually published the thing you're quoting.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:20 AM on May 5, 2006

All that said, I see "here's what the press had to say about us" - with full story reproductions - all the time on artsy and corporate websites. It may not be kosher, but it's extremely common and I doubt anyone at any newspaper or mag is going to care.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:34 AM on May 5, 2006

Most publications --- including newspapers --- will happily sell you reprints, in paper, pdf, or possibly HTML format. Their opinion will be that you should not post the entire article without paying them for the reprint rights.
posted by alms at 6:54 AM on May 5, 2006

I second CunningLinguist fwiw.
posted by salvia at 8:04 AM on May 5, 2006

If someone tips off the media, you may be sued. I've worked in marketing for my entire career and I have seen companies sued for illegally reproducing stories. If you work in an industry where intellectual property is important (software, engineering, manufacturing, publishing, marketing, etc), your prospective customers may even refuse to do business with you.

It is normal to pay a reprint fee to the publisher. You'll get high quality reproductions and you'll be within the law. Why not treat this like any other collateral and pay the fee? Most publications have print and online options.
posted by acoutu at 8:34 AM on May 5, 2006

Response by poster:
If it's in a commercial context, you're copying the full text of an article that's available through the copyright holder & giving it to people who might otherwise buy it, that's pretty much all 4 factors against you.

Well, as long as it continues to be available through the copyright holder, I can just link to it. The issue is what happens if/when they cease to make it available.

Are you being specific about the NYT?

No. In fact, it would definitely not be the NYT; it would be a regional paper with much smaller circulation (but still dominating its target readership, newspaper-wise).

If you work in an industry where intellectual property is important (software, engineering, manufacturing, publishing, marketing, etc), your prospective customers may even refuse to do business with you.

Not even remotely an issue, although surely the business in question has some tiny percentage of customers that work for the newspaper. In fact, the author of the article is pretty much guaranteed to see the reproduction.

Here's how I'm thinking of it. I go into restaurants, and they've got blown-up reproductions of restaurant reviews, in full, posted on the wall. A theatre troupe that has moved to a new city sends out a 'press kit' to local news outlets, and that kit includes full copies of articles about the troupe from other cities. In both cases, the reproductions are being used to facilitate business and positive word of mouth. Do the newspapers get paid in those situations? Are they supposed to?
posted by bingo at 9:30 AM on May 5, 2006

Do the newspapers get paid in those situations?

Yes. Those are reprints.
posted by alms at 9:57 AM on May 5, 2006

Response by poster: Okay...let me put it another way. I know of specific cases in which the newspapers did NOT get paid in those situations. I'm asking whether it actually happens, not whether it is supposed to happen according to some authority.
posted by bingo at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2006

Response by poster: ...or rather, the frequency at which there is any penalty incurred for it happening.
posted by bingo at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2006

You've already made up your mind, so why are you asking. I agree with the others in this thread that you need to purchase reprint rights--both for ethical and legal reasons. But, it's clear that you don't want to do this and just want someone to affirm that stealing content won't get you thrown in jail.
posted by richardhay at 2:24 PM on May 5, 2006

Response by poster: I haven't made up my mind as to what to actually do. However, answers indicating that getting reprints is easy don't address the question. Nobody has said anything that gives me reason to believe that they have an understanding of the rules and/or standards that govern the specific situation I'm dealing with. scalefree's comment may or may not be relevant.

I have not the slightest, vaguest worry about getting thrown in jail.
posted by bingo at 5:11 PM on May 5, 2006

What do you mean? Just go look at the Copyright Act. It's illegal to reproduce copyrighted material. By hosting the articles online, you're reproducing them. This is illegal. I have worked for companies that have been sued. In fact, I have worked for companies that have been sued simply for putting the logo of a magazine beside a link to the article hosted at the publication's site. I have been in charge of reprints, intellectual property protection and other related factors at several companies and, with the help of legal counsel, have had to help companies transition away from the law-breaking activities they previously pursued. (Especially since they were being sued.)

You will not be thrown in jail. But you can be sued. Many, many companies write scripts to see if their content is hosted elsewhere. They may have a clipping service that searches online for their material/name. THey may have an ASP that does this. They may have co-op students. They may have a diligent marketing manager. They may set up Google alerts for keywords, phrases or their name. It is very easy to find stolen material.

When caught, they will pursue a take-down notice with your ISP. The company seeking to sue will apply to Google (and elswhere) to have you removed from the search engine under a DCMA notification -- your customers will have trouble finding your site, products, etc. Your company will be featured in the "who's suing who" section of your local newspaper -- you may thus have trouble hiring contractors and agencies. The company(ies) suing you may go to greater lengths to make their lawsuit public. Your company's reputation will be marred, resources will be squandered, time will be wasted and YOU may be the scapegoat. It's far cheaper to pay for reproduction or reprint rights than to go through all that.
posted by acoutu at 9:29 AM on May 7, 2006

Response by poster: Well, acoutu, your link does not work, but I did read the wikipedia page on the 1976 Copyright Act, which seems to be the most recent version, and the situation seems more ambiguous to me than ever before.

Your statement that 'It's illegal to reproduce copyrighted material' is clearly a gross oversimplification. Your comments in this thread are, according to Metafilter anyway, copyrighted by you, but if I print out the thread, while I've reproduced the material, I have not violated any laws. If I then show it to fifty of my friends, and one of them takes it to kinkos, reproduces it 500 times, and wallpapers his bathroom with it, then (according to what I've read) no laws are being broken.

If you look at the criteria for 'fair use,' it's fairly obvious that the case I'm talking about does not clearly fall within a particular set of guidelines. Whether the reproduced material is being used directly for financial gain, whether that use detracts from the earning power of the original writer or publication,

I don't pretend to be an expert on this subject, which is why I asked the question, but neither does that mean that I didn't finish fifth grade.
posted by bingo at 10:23 AM on May 7, 2006

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