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Old 09-06-2005, 12:54 PM
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David David is offline
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Exclamation Copying & Pasting complete News Articles - Policy & Copyright Violation

After looking around earlier today there appears to be a very large quantity of copyrighted news articles being made on PTO. I point no fingers because I have been guilty of this too. It is easy to forget that just because an article, story or piece of content is made available on the web it does not mean that it can be legally reproduced any place else beyond where the copyright holder specifies. I also know it is frustrating when we make a summary about an article and provide a link only to have that link go bad sometime in the future, or having a “subscribe now to view this article” presented (for money) before you can view it.

I want to bring PTO back into full legal compliance with all applicable copyright laws and I need your help to do it.

How do you post an article so that it is legal and does not violate PTO’s Policies?

To stay within “fair use” copyright you are allowed a brief summary and a link back to the site which the article is located. Here is an example:


Subject: Official: E. Coli bacteria detected in floodwater

Post Content:
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Floodwater in New Orleans is contaminated with E. coli bacteria, a city official told CNN Tuesday.
The official in Mayor Ray Nagin's office declined to be identified.
The failures of the levee system after Hurricane Katrina's onslaught left about 80 percent of the city flooded with water up to 20 feet deep -- water that became a toxic mix of chemicals, garbage, corpses and human waste.

Link to full story:


This is the maximum amount of text you are allowed under “fair use” laws in the United States. You are also not allowed to edit the summary or paragraph that you are using that came from the copyright holder.

I understand for some time there has been confusion about what “fair use” actually is. It has been mistakenly identified as the right to reprint the full body of content as long as there is a link back to the main article. That is false. You can only post a summary or first paragraph (limited) to the article and a link.

I think it is also appropriate that when anyone posts a news article in the forums that they make their own summary and describe the events of the article. You are welcome to write as much as you like about the news article that you have read as long as you are not quoting verbatim. Think of it as a school paper in a way.

PTO is NOT a repository for everything that we can find on the Internet and want to add to the site. I know that we would not like other sites or media outlets copying up our content to use on their sites.

The moderators have been instructed from this point forward to edit any copyrighted news article that do not fit the "fair use" criteria and contact the members who post them. Again, I am not pointing any fingers (I’m no hypocrite, I’m guilty of it), however I feel that it has become so prevalent that if someone from a major media outlet shows up they are not going to be happy seeing the amount of content we have here. They have the obligation to inform us of this and ask us to remove it prior to any litigation, HOWEVER we don't need to spend hours and hours of our time in that pursuit when we can prevent it now, and because it is the right thing to do.

Thank you,
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