[thelist] Copyright Liability Question

Arlen.P.Walker at jci.com Arlen.P.Walker at jci.com
Thu Jul 25 09:46:01 CDT 2002

>I believe (and I might be very well wrong as copright laws go) as long as
>you put who/where the source orginated from a website (if applicable) you
>should be ok.

You're quite wrong. Often folks will allow you to reuse material, as long
as you credit the source, but that's only because they choose to allow it.
Crediting the source is a defense against plagiarism, not against copyright
infringement. Even if you credit Kim Stanley Robinson, posting the entire
text of Green Mars on your website *will* get you in legal trouble.

If you're reprinting the article in full, rather than summarizing it, I
don't see how you can hide behind "fair use," either. Fair use will allow
quoting from a text, paraphrasing it, but not reproducing the text in full.

Check the magazine's masthead and see what copyright they're claiming. Then
check their writer's guidelines. There's a couple of loopholes for you to
be looking for. One is if the magazine buys first publication rights. If
so, then the copyright can be assumed to have reverted to the author upon
publication (it may not, but you at least have "plausible deniability"
going for you in that case). Also, the magazine may not be buying
electronic rights at all, in which case the author still holds them.

And one other check the Europeans on the list are better able to help with:
Europe recognizes something called "moral rights" in copyrighted works,
which the author cannot assign to anyone else. Perhaps your usage can be
covered under those (no idea, as I haven't had to deal with that sort of

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen.P.Walker at JCI.Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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