Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wants to Excerpt News Articles

Dear Rich: I'm in the process of writing a book. I'd like to use excerpts from news reports from newspaper articles as introductions to each chapter. Is this covered by copyright? Yes, news articles, like all original textual works, are protected by copyright ... unless of course, they're in the public domain. However, your excerpts from these news articles will likely qualify as a fair use (click for some examples), provided you keep them  short -- for example, 50 to 100 words. In that way, your use appears to fit within fair use guidelines as a "transformative" and excerpted use of nonfiction text for purposes of commentary. We provide our usual caveat when it comes to fair use -- the final word in any fair use dispute is a court, so there are no guarantees (as demonstrated in this recent case). And also, let's not forget how strange some companies can be in their pursuit of copyright "justice".

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