AuthorTopic: Is it legal to copy news from other sites and post them to my own?  (Read 345 times)

Offline knarf

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Richard Fellner, Editor of Inside Golf Magazine. Gadget junkie. Web nerd. Melbourne, Australia
Answered Jun 24 2011 · Author has 65 answers and 283.7k answer views
While news aggregators exist, there are many legal implications surrounding the practice. Google was recently embroiled in a legal battle with AFP for their aggregation of AFP content for Google News, while other content aggregators are facing similar circumstances.

At the heart of the matter is the fact that a content creator (i.e. magazines, newspapers, bloggers, etc) own the copyright to the content they create. When an aggregator comes along and scrapes the content, it is in essence a breach of copyright. In other cases, content is licensed for use on other sites (like a newspaper that pays a licensing fee to use AFP content, etc). So if an aggregator pulls licensed content without paying for it, there are problems that will arise, etc.

There are also other issues at play, like Search Engine Optimisation. A website that has a good piece of content will want to get the benefit of the SEO for that piece. If an aggregator copies it in its entirety, then there is always a chance that the aggregated piece will get better SEO than the original piece. So content creators are guarding their good content, and will get upset if others are stealing it.

That said, if an aggregator copies only the abstract (or excerpt/lede/dek, etc), and then provides a link that directs readers to the original story, then it is usually ok. This is, in essence, how RSS Feeds work, and many websites are happy for a site to display the RSS feed.

Long story short - there aren't any firm laws in place at the moment (none that I know of, anyway), but it's not going to be smooth sailing, either.

There is a good whitepaper on the topic:
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'


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