How to steer clear of copyright infringement?

UPDATED: Oct 28, 2010

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How to steer clear of copyright infringement?

I am planning to create a blog which intends to help share and spread news on a variety of topics to even more people. I also want people to read quickly so I use summaries instead. In order to do this, Iwill search for news myself, summarize it in my own words or bullet points, and post it in my blog. However, I will also give credit and cite the originally source directly next to the summary. Would this be legal? Would it infringe any copyright laws or any other laws? I have researched a bit but it is still not clear cut.

Asked on October 28, 2010 under Business Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Don't confuse copyright and plagarism--they have nothing to do with each other. Crediting your sources doesn't protect you from a copyright infringement claim, even though it is moral to do so. Copyright protects the exact expression of an idea or information--for example, take this answer to you. This specific answer--the arrangment of words--is copyright protected; however the general information about copyright law is not, and millions of other lawyers could each provide the same basic information in their own words.

So do NOT pick up any words, phrases, examples, etc. unique to a source. Look at several sources for each topic or news item; synthesize and combine their information, then express it entirely in your own words, drawing on your sources only for the raw facts or information, not for the way it is expressed.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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