- We’ve all been there. We find an interesting article posted
online and we want to comment on it and share it for the world to
be careful, said Bruce Boyden, an assistant professor at Marquette
Law School who specializes in copyright law.
general, any sort of creative content including news articles or
online articles is copyrighted from the moment it’s created,”
to the Cornell University Law School website, “the owner of a
copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform,
display, license, and to prepare derivative works based on the
copyrighted work. The exclusive rights of the copyright owner are
subject to limitation by the doctrine of
‘fair use.’” Fair
use of copyrighted work includes for such purposes as criticism,
comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research.
then, it can only be a shortened version.
(a person is) only permitted to take as much of someone else’s
work as is needed in order to engage in some form of protected
use,” Boyden said.
use, Boyden said, can include copying a paragraph from a newspaper
to share with comment on a person’s own blog. Just because an item
is posted online and is not protected by a password doesn’t mean
it’s available for use by other people for their own use, Boyden
if it’s on a public website, it’s protected.
to the Cornell University Law School article, “To determine
whether or not a particular use qualifies as fair use, courts apply
a multi-factor balancing test.”
of those factors, Boyden said, is if it’s being used by another
party to comment. The person who is sharing the content can be doing
so in a way with the intent to compete, he
said. Fair use isn’t always easy to define, Boyden said, and is
determined on a case-by-case basis by a court.
recommends that if someone wants to be cautious, he should post a
link to the original source.
would be a very safe way to direct people to the original
content,” he said.
Boyden said there is a lot of misunderstanding of copyrighted
material among individuals. Even professionals get
confused about the rules and will take photographs not copyrighted
by them and use them on their websites, violating the copyright law.
Boyden said he has heard from many aggravated professional
it can be a difficult line for content creators to walk, Boyden
said. If they create a payment plan for content, it can hinder
people from viewing the content and drive people away, but if people
leave their content online and unprotected it can get ripped off, he
has been a pretty steady amount of litigation over online
infringement since the late ’90s,” Boyden said.
the past five to 10 years, Boyden said more attorneys have been
going after the intermediaries such as Internet service
providers to enforce
would say, that if your purpose is to add something new and only
take what you need, adding only criticism or parody, then you have
fair use rights,” Boyden said.
even if a person gets a news article from a blog that wrongfully
shared a news article, that person is still liable.
that everyone has a computer and access to content, Boyden said
copyright law is something everyone has to worry about. Eventually,
he said, the law will adapt.
a person is commenting upon or critiquing a copyrighted work, fair
use principles apply that allow a person to reproduce some of the
original work. Some examples of commentary and
criticism include: Quoting
a few lines from a Bob Dylan song in a music review Summarizing and
quoting from a medical article on prostate cancer in a news report
Copying a few paragraphs from a news article for use by a teacher or
student in a lesson, or Copying a portion of a Sports Illustrated
magazine article for use in a related court case. The underlying
rationale of this rule is that the public reaps benefits from your
review, which is enhanced by including some of the copyrighted
Stanford University Libraries,