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Copyright Infringement and You Why RN Has Rules on Article Posting

#1 User is offline   trekqueen 

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 10:23 AM

Copyright Infringement and You: Why RN Has Rules on Article Posting
by TrekQueen
May 2, 2005

I know a number of people have been questioning and complaining about why the moderators are being very meticulous over the way news articles are posted on this forum. This post will explain some things in detail. If it does not make sense, please ask questions. This week I have a paper due for my final thesis concerning Fair Use of the Internet and Copyright Infringement. I was going to post on this at a later date (aka after I’m done with my paper) but I felt this needed to be posted sooner rather than later.

There are four factors that lead to a decision on whether fair use of copyright material on the Internet is legal or not:


“…(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.” (Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, 17 U.S.C. § 107)

If our articles meet these criteria properly then we are within the Fair Use statute. Now I’ll explain this a little further. The purpose of the use of the newspaper articles by members on RN is for educational purposes of gaining knowledge, which also is the nature of the work: to inform people. We can only allow excerpts of the articles because if we used the entire article it could be copyright infringement and make us liable for a lawsuit. Example: There have been posted copies of published books on the Internet (not on RN) that professors have used for classes at universities but it is in violation because it shows the full work while making it available to the public. This leads into the final factor; if an entire published work is available to the public then what incentive is there for the public to buy or subscribe to said work? This ruins the “potential market” for the creator and thus they cannot make a profit.

Due to these factors we must show properly where the source is that has the work original posted. If we do not do that (or we incorrectly leave information) then we can be liable for plagiarism plus copyright infringement.

Not too long ago, a similar website to ours named Free Republic got into a lawsuit with the LA Times. This is the summary of the case available:


“Los Angeles Times v. Free Republic, a recent case, involved a bulletin board that text of many news articles originally published on two newspapers’ web sites. The purpose of the posting was to encourage BBS members to add commentary and criticism. The newspapers sued for copyright infringement. The BBS operator sought summary judgment on its fair use defense, which the court rejected. The court found that the market for viewing articles online, for selling copies of archived articles, and for licensing others to display or sell the articles would be adversely affected by the availability of verbatim copies on the defendant’s web site. Although the web site was non-commercial and promoted critical comment, the defendant failed to show that verbatim copying of the articles was necessary to achieve its purposes.” (Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5669 (C.D. Cal. 2000))

If this does not make sense, please ask questions. However, I believe this portion explains well the predicament Lisa and RightNation.US is in if we do not follow certain guidelines. The format for posting articles is quite simple and not that complicated so please practice proper formatting. If you find edits on any articles you post, take it as a learning experience and make sure you add and follow the advice and edits that were given to you so you may do it properly the next time.

#2 User is offline   Wilrulz 

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 03:37 PM


This page covers the basic definitions regarding copyrights. It has been written using the Berne Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Property (Berne Convention) as the main bibliographical source, and does not refer to the laws of any country in particular. Therefore, comparing this document to the particular laws of your country may arise in discrepancies. However, copyright laws vary from country to country but as a rule do not contravene or provide less copyright protection than the Berne Convention, provided the country in question is a member thereof.

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