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Thread: Legal Aspects?

  1. #1
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    Legal Aspects?

    Basically i run a site, where admins/people can contribute stories/articles/news/etc. Strange and bizzare news are the majority of the submissions, so I was wondering if its legally accepable to copy/paste the news story from a website (ie. CNN, Ananova) if the source URL of where it came from is stated at the bottom.

    Thanks!

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    Unless their TOS explicitly state that this is acceptable, the answer is absolutely, positively not without written permission by those sites. Most of the news on those sites is obtained through agreements with various news agencies. So you'd be ripping off a lot more than just those sites. You'd be ripping off the likes of the Associated Press, Reuters and Scripps Howard Newswire, to name a few.
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    I just took a look at the copyrights on a few of those, and it looks like Im doing exactly what they don't want people to do. Not good at all....

    As an alternative, I was thinking this. Posting headline + summary (written by myself/site staff) and when "read more" is clicked, you are sent to the story URL on the site which contains it. Would that be legally acceptable?

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    Originally posted by yegorpb
    I just took a look at the copyrights on a few of those, and it looks like Im doing exactly what they don't want people to do. Not good at all....
    Right. It's good that you care enough to think about an alternative. Think of it from the the point of view of the publishers and writers. They pay or get paid to produce those articles, and then someone comes along and takes them for free. It's theft as well as copyright violation. But it sounds like you see that now.

    As an alternative, I was thinking this. Posting headline + summary (written by myself/site staff) and when "read more" is clicked, you are sent to the story URL on the site which contains it. Would that be legally acceptable? [/B]
    I do that for a newsletter I publish. It isn't copyright violation because I write the summaries, and the links to go to the articles where they're already published. Actually, sometimes I take a quote from the article to use as the summary, but I put it in quotation marks right after the article title to show where it came from. Publishing short quotes is legally acceptable in most situations as long as the source is indicated.

    A while ago, I was at a seminar on the legal aspects of web publishing (in Canada). The lawyer giving the presentation said that you should have permission to link to content at another site. I find that strange and impractical. Most of us welcome incoming links, and if we had to ask for and get permission before we linked to another site, a lot of those links wouldn't happen. OTOH, I can see some situations where those incoming links wouldn't be welcome. Webmasters may not always want the association that a link to their site suggests.

    I mentioned the above to provide more background to the situation. I don't know what countries it applies in, though. Personally, I don't worry about it for the newsletter I do because the links are to related stories at news sites, and I expect that a lot of people link to those sites.

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    Thanks for a very informing reply. Looks like I gotta do some changes.

    The primary reason why I started doing that in the first place, so that once I attain a large amount of articles, it will become a searchable database. If the text isn't stored on the web server, there is no way I could search it for keywords (without google). What if I were to store the actual story for searching purposes, but not make it available for viewing. So the script will search all the articles, and then display the ones where the keywords were found, and link to the articles hosted elsewhere.
    Last edited by yegorpb; 07-17-2005 at 05:48 PM.

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by yegorpb
    Thanks for a very informing reply.
    You're welcome.

    The primary reason why I started doing that in the first place, so that once I attain a large amount of articles, it will become a searchable database. If the text isn't stored on the web server, there is no way I could search it for keywords (without google). What if I were to store the actual story for searching purposes, but not make it available for viewing. So the script will search all the articles, and then display the ones where the keywords were found, and link to the articles hosted elsewhere.
    Hmmm...I don't know. You might want to ask a lawyer about that.

    Another option would be to extract the keywords yourself from each article and store those words in your database. It would take longer, and you wouldn't necessarily find all the keywords that people would search with, but it would avoid the issue of copyright.

    I wonder if what you suggested is what some other sites do. At one site I maintain, some of the incoming links I look up go to a page of site search results on the topic. There's no copyright violation, but it would be useful to know how those search results are obtained.

    Lois
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  7. #7
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    Yea, I was thinking about the keyword idea, that would fix the issue, but it takes time, but it looks like this is the way to go, since I found this in the CNN Terms

    Associated Press text, photos, graphics, audio and/or video materials shall not directly or indirectly be published, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed in any medium. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use.
    The content is available for free, but ads on the site generate revenue, so that would be considered commerical use, correct?

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    Originally posted by yegorpb
    The content is available for free, but ads on the site generate revenue, so that would be considered commerical use, correct?
    Right. You've found the answer to your question.

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    Originally posted by yegorpb
    Yea, I was thinking about the keyword idea, that would fix the issue, but it takes time,
    A tool you might find useful is the Web Frequency Indexer. It sorts text for you by word frequency or by alpabetical order. Aside from the non-content words (articles, pronouns, prepositions, etc.), the words near the top of the list are more likely to be content words. Also, just seeing the words in a list rather than in sentences makes it easier to pick out words from the article. It does for me, anyway.

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    Thats a very helpful site. Thanks

    Looks like I got some work ahead of me.... damn you copyright law!

  11. #11
    I've seen many people copy-&-paste news from CNN on other boards & just provide a link back to that section.

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    Originally posted by Shaliza
    I've seen many people copy-&-paste news from CNN on other boards & just provide a link back to that section.
    People often copy material illegally, but it still isn't legal.

    If someone has taken content that you've written and published it at another site without permission, you'll know what it's like from the other side.

    Lois
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    Eeeeep, you could get in serious trouble if you don't look into it good.

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    Originally posted by writespeak
    A while ago, I was at a seminar on the legal aspects of web publishing (in Canada). The lawyer giving the presentation said that you should have permission to link to content at another site. I find that strange and impractical. Most of us welcome incoming links, and if we had to ask for and get permission before we linked to another site, a lot of those links wouldn't happen. OTOH, I can see some situations where those incoming links wouldn't be welcome. Webmasters may not always want the association that a link to their site suggests.
    This issue is known as "deep linking" and has been a hot potato for some years. I'm familiar with both arguments, and I do understand why some attorneys recommend only linking to sites where a relationship has been established. I also understand where forum rats (like ourselves) find it strange and impractical, but for a corporate site (aside from forums, etc.) it does make sense.

    There was a Danish court case on this issue, regarding a news-aggregator site:

    http://slashdot.org/articles/02/07/0...9.shtml?tid=95

    Here's what the w3c has to say:

    http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/issues.html#deepLinking-25
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    Originally posted by BigBison
    This issue is known as "deep linking" and has been a hot potato for some years.
    That's only part of the issue that I was referring to. Deep linking is (as you know) bypassing the normal paths by linking to a page somewhere at the site. One of the objections to doing this is that the direct link might bypass revenue-generating pages with ads. A link to any page at a site is a problem in some situations, though.

    At the seminar I was at, one of the other attendees had written a book about children with psychic abilities, and her site was about the book and the topic. She told me in a conversation afterwards that she wouldn't want the association of just any site linking to hers. She didn't give me an example, but let's imagine that a site catering to the fantasies of child predators linked to her site. It's an extreme example, but it shows that no matter what page of her site this hypothetical site linked to, she'd want to take legal action against the owner of this other site.

    I'm familiar with both arguments, and I do understand why some attorneys recommend only linking to sites where a relationship has been established.
    I understand both sides too, but I rarely ask for permission to link to a site. Most of the outgoing links I have at sites are to informational sites or pages on the topic that the page is about, and I highly doubt there'd be any reason for concern. I will remove any link if the relevant webmaster asks me to, but with hundreds of links that I've published at various sites, no one has ever made this request.

    A situation in which I do ask for permission is when I'd like to link to work I've done for clients. If my name isn't on the work, they may understandably not want a link showing that someone outside their company did the work for them.

    There was a Danish court case on this issue, regarding a news-aggregator site:

    http://slashdot.org/articles/02/07/0...9.shtml?tid=95

    Here's what the w3c has to say:

    http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/issues.html#deepLinking-25 [/B]
    The English version of the Danish article is currently unavailable, but it sounds interesting. Thanks for posting the links. (Did you ask for permission first? )

    Lois
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    Originally posted by writespeak
    The English version of the Danish article is currently unavailable, but it sounds interesting. Thanks for posting the links. (Did you ask for permission first? )
    I see that as iNet's problem. Their site doesn't have to let me post links at all.

    Many of the issues surrounding deep linking, also apply to 'excerpting', IIRC. Like posting Reuters' RSS feeds within your own pages, against their agreement for subscribing to the feed.

    (It will take years for the courts to catch up, I pay my attorney to give me advice like "don't link without asking permission" even when I choose to ignore it!)

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by writespeak
    The English version of the Danish article is currently unavailable, but it sounds interesting.
    Try this PDF:

    http://www.pressenshus.dk/usr/presse...56c2300454463/$FILE/DDF-gb.pdf

    Or, the Google HTML version:

    http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache...utrup%22&hl=en

    Online articles:

    http://wired-vig.wired.com/news/poli...,53697,00.html
    http://www.journalism.co.uk/features/story438.shtml

  18. #18
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    That's too much legalese for this time of night, but thanks for the link. It'll be easier to read some other time.

    [/QUOTE]
    http://wired-vig.wired.com/news/poli...,53697,00.html
    http://www.journalism.co.uk/features/story438.shtml [/QUOTE]

    These articles are interesting and easier to read. Thanks.

    Lois
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  19. #19
    Originally posted by writespeak
    People often copy material illegally, but it still isn't legal.

    If someone has taken content that you've written and published it at another site without permission, you'll know what it's like from the other side.

    Lois
    I own an online mag. People have done it & always provided a link back. Never bothered me.

    It all comes down to how the owner feels about it. If someone did that & claimed that THEY wrote the article, that'd be a different story.
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    Originally posted by Shaliza
    I own an online mag. People have done it & always provided a link back. Never bothered me.
    I work as a volunteer to maintain a website about a health condition. People occasionally copy a whole page from that site and post it in a forum post along with a link to the site. While that is copyright infringement, I don't have much of a problem with that. People are sharing health information, and that's what the site is for. Also, sharing health information is the only benefit in this situation. No one is using someone else's ripped content to bring people to their site.

    One time someone copied a page that was regularly updated with more current information, and he didn't replace it with a link to the page when I polited suggested doing so because that page at his site was out of date. Still, the intentions were good.

    I was considerably more bothered when an article I'd spent days on and gotten paid for appeared at another site. I didn't even have the right to publish that article at my site. The company I'd written it for had bought exclusive rights to it for the first 90 days. In this case, I contacted the company who now owned the article and let them take care of it. The article was gone the next day.

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  21. #21
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    The personal opinions of Tim Berners-Lee on this matter:

    http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkLaw.html
    http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkMyths.html

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    Originally posted by BigBison
    http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkLaw.html
    Interesting. The author makes a distinction between HTML links and embedded links, but personally, I don't see such a distinction as relevant. Most of the time, we welcome links to our sites, but sometimes we don't, especially links from specific sites or types of sites. If I don't want a particular incoming link, it doesn't matter to me in which format the link is. The same if I welcome the link.

    Your thoughts?

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    well your websites a blog right and your just journaling like google new? right? maybe invite conversation on your website and put youself in a different news cat.
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    Originally posted by gilbert
    well your websites a blog right and your just journaling like google new? right? maybe invite conversation on your website and put youself in a different news cat.
    Sorry, I don't follow what you're saying. Was that addressed to anyone in particular? My point was that some webmasters don't want some incoming links. Google is a search engine, and blogs, well, can you explain what you mean about them?

    Thanks,
    Lois
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