Reminder: Don’t repost copyrighted content!

posted by Patrick Crowley on September 21, 2006 at 6:23 am

This morning, we received an email from a newspaper asking us to remove several theater comments where someone posted the full text of newspaper articles.

While it may seem that it’s ok to post an entire newspaper article, it actually isn’t… so please remember to follow the guidelines below when making a comment (or submitting news) that includes a newspaper article.

– Include a link to the article on the newspaper’s website
– Include a short summary about the article, preferably in your own words. (You can also quote up to a paragraph from the original story, but no more than that.)

– Repost an entire newspaper article
– Post content without attribution — always include the source

Comments (11)

Coate on September 21, 2006 at 7:27 am

You don’t make it clear whether those who posted the articles in question cited their sources. I suspect they didn’t.

As long as publication name, article name, author, and original publication date is cited in one’s post, then where’s the problem? (I can see where a newspaper requiring a subscription to access a web version of an article may object to whole text being posted.)

Hopefully, Cinema Treasures posters will see Patrick’s post above and take a moment to remind themselves to start attributing more often their sources of information. There seems to be an ALARMING amount of information on this website posted without any attribution…and, worse, much of the info is just plain wrong.

This website has incredible potential, but the nature of user-submitted information sites is, in my opinion, a major credibility threat.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on September 21, 2006 at 8:14 am

Actually, Mike, they did cite their sources, but it doesn’t matter. If you republish an entire newspaper article without permission, that’s copyright infringement.

Yes, perhaps we could try to argue that doing so is “fair use” — but, frankly, it’s not worth the effort, especially when most of this material is already available online.

Just stick to posting a link and up to a paragraph from the original story, and you’ll be fine.

As for information on the site, you can always post a comment to correct any inaccuracies that you see. (But, longer term, we’ll be taking steps to improve how we handle this issue.)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 21, 2006 at 8:26 am

User comments are always subject to the expression personal opinion or other non-factual data (from fuzzy recollections to – at worst – deliberate misinformation). I think what is key for the integrity of this site is ensuring that the theater descriptions posted at the top of each page should contain as accurate and up-to-date information as possible.

As for posting the full content of newspaper articles, I’ve seen it done on this site and others. Unfortunately, you can’t always link to online archived articles as they are typically viewable to registered users only and often at a cost. Even when these articles are purchased, you’ll typically find a boiler plate message or link noting that there is no license implied by the purchase to publish the article elsewhere. You may obtain such a license (and they usually expire at a set time – 6 months or 1 yr) but the costs are considerable. One NYC newspaper charges $600 for a 6 month license to re-publish complete articles – and that’s for non-profit usage! For commercial websites, the fee goes as high as $6000!

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on September 21, 2006 at 8:37 am

Yes, it is unfortunate that some articles are only accessible through pay services, but that doesn’t give us the right to republish them.

While this does happen on other sites, Ed, it is still technically copyright infringement… so please stick to the guidelines above.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on September 21, 2006 at 10:03 am

Generally, linking isn’t considered copyright infringement, even if you link to copyrighted material.

However, if you’ve uploaded copyrighted content to a service like Photobucket without permission, uploading would probably be an infringement. But, since this content is stored on Photobucket, you should check their terms of use to see what’s acceptable.

We’ll probably need to clarify this in the future, Lost. But, for now, use your best judgement.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 21, 2006 at 10:10 am

Yes Patrick. I realize now I really didn’t follow through on my thought in that post. I agree with you and did not mean to infer that since I’ve seen this practice on this and other sites it was somehow acceptable. I make it a practice to summarize articles myself just as you suggest and directly quote content only minimally (a line or two maybe a paragraph at most).

Lost… I am most DEFINITELY guilty of posting photos I acquired from the internet. However, many such photos are left open for downloading and usually have identifying watermarks (and are substantially lower resolution than the originals). I’d have to clear out half of my photobucket account. On that token, I wonder about images of newspaper advertisements for films, a great many of which have been scanned and posted here? A definite can of worms… But as Patrick indicates, it seems to be more of an issue between each member and the image-hosting provider.

By the way… did the site just go haywire for a few minutes? Nothing I tried to post went through, but I didn’t get the usual error messages.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 21, 2006 at 10:35 am

They’ll never take me alive, Lost!

jazzland on September 22, 2006 at 6:26 am

Hopefully this wasn’t the Times-Picayune in New Orleans complaining. They should be complimented that anyone would ever directly quote their pathetic, pulpy, prose.

shoeshoe14 on September 22, 2006 at 12:46 pm

I worked for an indy paper for 5 years. Here’s the real deal. You CAN repost an article on your website or in your paper as long as you cite the author, publication and/or website and DO NOT make a profit on the article. Otherwise known as the Fair Use Act.

We now return you to preserving theaters.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on September 22, 2006 at 2:30 pm

You are misinformed, shoeshoe14.

While Cinema Treasures does serve an educational purpose, “fair use” does not automatically give us the ability to republish copyrighted material.

Posting a complete article is not “fair use” because it duplicates the entirety of the original work, and thus potentially diminishes the value of the work to its original creator. (If we post an entire New York Times article, there’s no reason to read it on the NYT website — and thus we would deprive them of advertising or subscription revenue.)

Anyway, this is standard practice in our industry, it’s been confirmed by our legal team, and we’ve been using these guidelines for over six years.

Here’s some additional info about “fair use” (including common myths):

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