Publisher Ethics For Reprint-able Articles
Let's 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 on?
Article Reprints Universal Law #1
Don't 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 "morality" into consideration, you must take legality into consideration first. Violating an articles copyright is an illegal act. It's 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 you're 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 101? 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 (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#504).
Bottom line is that you could be liable for up to $150,000 USD in copyright damages for EACH copyright infringement.
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 reprint.
It's 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 future.
About The Author:
Christopher M. Knight invites you to submit your best articles for massive exposure to the high-traffic EzineArticles.com directory. When you submit your articles to EzineArticles.com, your articles will be picked up by ezine publishers who will reprint your articles with your content and links in tact giving you traffic surges to help you increase your sales. To submit your article, setup a membership account today: http://EzineArticles.com/submit/
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