If you are an ezine publisher or webmaster
that likes to use supplemental content from the many free articles
available for free reprints on the Internet, this article may save you
from a very expensive copyright infringement lawsuit. Stealing articles
by violating the posted reprint rights is copyright infringement theft.
Ethics For Reprint-able Articles
Letís Discuss Publisher Ethics:
If you are an ezine publisher or
webmaster that likes to use supplemental content from the many free
articles available for free reprints on the Internet, this article may
save you from a very expensive copyright infringement lawsuit. Stealing
articles by violating the posted reprint rights is copyright
infringement theft. Read onÖ
Article Reprints Universal Law #1
Donít assume that you can reprint
any article at any time without checking the publicly posted terms of
service for reprint rights. If a website does not post its reprint
rights policy, you must assume that you do not
have permission to reprint the content.
Article Reprints Universal Law #2
While an ethics discussion might take
ďmoralityĒ into consideration, you must take legality into consideration
first. Violating an articles copyright is an illegal act. Itís
intellectual property theft.
Article Reprints Universal Law #3
Planet Earth is a very small planet. Do
not assume that you can evade infringement just because youíre not based
in the country of the authors that you reprinted without permission. You
can not hide. Every web server has an IP address and every IP address
has a commercial Internet Service Provider managing it. Every ISP has an
AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) that almost assuredly denies illegal
activity to be performed by any of their clients.
Article Reprints Universal Law #4
Consider your article source very
carefully. Just because an article directory gives you unlimited reprint
rights does not mean they have the legal right to give you rights to
reprint the content without further author permission. When in doubt,
poll a dozen of the authors of the site and make sure that they agreed
to allow their articles to be reprinted.
Best way to determine the legitimacy of
the site that is offering the reprint rights is to contact the owner of
the site and ask him or her where they got the right to publish the
content that they are offering you to reprint for free. Proceed very
slowly and with caution when in doubt.
Article Reprints Universal Law #5
Unless you get specific permission,
assume that you do not have any right to alter the content in any way
without further permission from the author of the article you wish to
reprint. You should also not assume that you can change the reprint
rights to suit your particular web or ezine project. For example, if an
author only gave limited reprint rights, you should not assume that you
get lifetime reprint rights.
Article Reprints Universal Law #6
If you are following a reprint rights
policy that is publicly posted on a website, it would be good to
download a local copy of the reprint policy to prove that you had the
right to reprint the content without further permission. It is also a
good idea to visit the reprint rights policy on a monthly basis to make
sure it has not changed.
Article Reprints Universal Law #7
Get to know copyright law 101Ö
specifically, section 504 of the Copyright Law of the United States of
America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code
Bottom line is that you could be liable
for up to $150,000 USD in copyright damages for EACH copyright
One more point: Copying an entire
article does not constitute fair use. You can safely consider copying a
few sentences or perhaps a paragraph may be considered fair use, but in
no case does the "fair
use doctrine" cover reprinting an entire article without attribution
or following the posted reprint rights policy.
Article Reprints Conclusion:
Do the right thing.
You know what it is.
Follow the reprint policy or ask the
author for permission for each and every article that you wish to
Itís the right thing to do and
instinctively, most people know it.
Failure to comply with the reprint
rights policy that is posted by an author can invite copyright
infringement lawsuits that may have a strong financial bite on your
About The Author:
Christopher M. Knight invites you
to submit your best articles for massive exposure to the high-traffic
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articles will be picked up by ezine publishers who will reprint your
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