Are You Itching to Reprint an Article You Like?

Are You Itching to Reprint an Article You Like?

Sometimes we read an article we like so much that we say to ourselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

An article is a creation of the author, just as a painting is a creation of the artist, or a song the creation of a musician, or the development of a new technology the creation of the person or team who discovered and perfected it. Each article has an owner, and whether an article has a copyright symbol on it or not, there’s a big clue to who owns it by where you saw it.

Web site blogs for example, will not likely have a footer at the bottom with © information but it’s obvious whose blog it is. Whether a corporate web site or a private one, the deal is the same.

If you are tempted to reprint the article, here are some things to remember:

  1. You may use small quotes with reference to the original article and author. Check out “fair use” (US) or “fair dealings” (Canada) for more information.
  2. Contact the copyright holder for permission to reprint, whether it’s a paragraph or a page or a full article.
  3. If you are unable to make contact with the © holder, either because the contact information is out of service or because you cannot find them anywhere by searching for them on line, and you are unable to reach the publisher of the article (e.g. a magazine or newspaper) then at the least, give credit to where you saw the article and any other relevant copyright or author information. This can be included as a footer to the reprinted article, or with a byline under the title to identify the source.
  4. The reproduced material must also cite the source and original author, even if you announce verbally that the material came from another source or have included that information in an email or other separate document. You don’t own the material and except for such writings which have outlived copyright protection, you must seek permission before using it. Generally, in Canada, the term of copyright protection expires 50 years from the end of the calendar year of the author’s death (“life plus fifty”). The term of copyright protection varies from country to country.
  5. You may be subject to legal action if you reprint under your own name, without acknowledging that the material did not originate with you and without citing the original source in that same reprint. And others will notice so your reputation is also at risk.

Rule of thumb: if you want to borrow something, you ask the owner for permission. The same goes for written materials.

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