April 08, 2010

Quoting Blogposts And Copyright Issues

(Image by Flickr user Horia Varlan, used under a Creative Commons License)

A growing problem in today's blogosphere is copy-pasting. When you are trying to find some original opinions - you will be surprised how many bloggers resort to just copy-pasting a news or a whole blogpost from other blogs. The line between spamblog or splogs and these blogs then disappears.

I link to other blogs a lot. I quote from them, analyze them dissect them or just highlight them. So whats the difference between quoting a para of a blog and copy-pasting the whole blog? A hell-lot.

First of all what the law says? Can you replicate someone else's copyrighted content? The answer is NO. As per Ann Smarty, SEO Consultant and Diretor of Media at Search and Social Media, LLC:
  • You cannot copy someone else's article even if you link back;
  • There is no definitive rule as to how much you are actually allowed to copy.
  • There is one exception though: "Fair use"
According to US copyright office:
Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports.

Examples of fair use include: "illustration or clarification of the author’s observations."

So if you are criticizing someone else's blog post/opinion/comment, you have a fair use right to quote. Moreover also check whether the work is published under a creative commons license (copyleft). If not you can always ask an author for permission of use of the content. It is always helpful to know your limits.

Read Ann Smarty for more details.

Meanwhile also check these useful articles:


  1. How about quoting another blogs "comments". how would you go about doing this?