Ask a Cyber Lawyer helps Blogger assert copyright
I met Duane Lester from All American Blogger when I spoke at a blogger conference in Charlotte, NC a few weeks ago.
Last week I got a tweet from Duane. Turns out a small news paper had taken a blog post of his, copied it almost verbatim, and published it in their newspaper. They did not get his permission. They did not attribute the source to him. So here was my complete non-legal advice.
So that is what he did. He wrote a letter to the paper, he attached a bill. He delivered the letter, and in the end, he got a check from the paper for $500.00. He also videotaped the encounter and posted it on his blog. This all can be seen here.
This entire episode shows that the law is a double edged sword. The advice about posting and attributing to bloggers, applies to news publications. You cannot copy and republish an article without violating someone’s copyright. Bloggers can’t do it. Newspapers can’t do it. Select what you want to use, a small fraction of the original work, attribute it, and add your own content, at least double of what you copied at bare minimum. More would be better.
I also encourage bloggers to actually develop relationships with local newspapers. See if you can get what you write republished with permission, and perhaps actual payment. This way, they get content, you get attribution, publicity, and maybe a little cash.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains no actual legal advice. It is difficult to dispense comprehensive legal advice on the internet. If you find the information on this site interesting and insightful, great. But before you rely on any of this advice, please consult a legal professional with the specific details of your case or controversy.