Copy cop

Copy cop
: Reuters is going to use FAST search to find unauthorized uses of its content and violation of its copyright on the Internet and in print. That’s a clever use of the technology. But the first time Reuters goes after a blogger for snipping too long a quote — how long is too long? — there’ll be a storm. The FAST press release here.

  • button

    I hardly ever ref Reuters.
    And I make an effort to avoid using much off other writers. I also make an effort to identify other writers (and reporters) whenever I can.

  • My web site (because of all its Samuel Johnson content) is frequently spidered by an engine apparently used by academics to spot plagiarism. Can’t remember its name, but that’s what the link from the server log says.
    I’m all for Reuters doing it: I’ve been appalled at the size of clips I’ve seen in blogs, where the pasted material goes on at length, and the blogger just adds the word “indeed.” Or maybe “heh.”

  • billg

    If bloggers want to be taken as serious and legitimate members of “the media’, then they’re gonna hafta play by the same rules. If Reuters can come after your local newspaper for stepping beyond the accepted bounds of fair use, they can come after a blogger for doing the same thing.
    Blogs are a place to publish, not the harbinger of revolution. If some folks wanna pretend otherwise, they’d better round up the lawyers.

  • Tom

    bill – I don’t think anyone’s saying otherwise – what I think people are concerned about is what is considered “fair use”?
    Are Jeff’s blockquoted sections of blogposts or articles or interviewed “too long”? Are anyone’s? If you make blatant reference to where you got something and have a lot to say about it, I don’t think anyone should have an issue – but no one is saying right now.

  • cj

    I think there are real abuses in the blogosphere of the “fair use” doctrine, as vague as that may be. Some blogs cut and paste an entire article (or 95 percent). Some blogs even state (paraphase, obviously): since registration is required, here’s the article.
    I think this is a legitimate issue.
    News outlets have the right to require registration. I may or may not decide to register (I tend not to), but rather than skirt registration, the blogosphere would better serve its constituents by refusing to link to those outlets that require registration. I also don’t have a problem with blogs that post their registration login info for others to use — although I admit this is a grey area.

  • billg

    Tom, the parameters of fair use re: quotations are widely understood. The Copyright Act is actually somewhat less than nebulous about it. It, and the courts, don’t provide a literal yardstick (“5 percent or below constitutes fair use, 5 percent and up is too much..”), and never will.
    Copying and publishing the majority of someone else’s work isn’t going to be considered fair use. When in doubt, find a lawyer before publishing.
    CJ: As I understand things, registration has nothing to do with fair use. If a site displays 95 percent of someone else’s news reports — and has not acquired the legal right to do that — it isn’t fair use, whether or not a user needs to register to see them.
    It’s unlikely that the place of publication — the web — will fundamentally alter the defintion of fair use, but it was inevitable that someone would take it to the courts as soon as blogs acquired mainstream visibility.