It’s not unusual for NLA media access to get a ‘huh?’(or indeed less polite) response from businesses when we ask: ‘do you have permission from the copyright owner to re-publish articles on your company’s website and social media pages?’
Because it’s so easy to do and because the content is often accessible without cost, you could be mistaken in believing you are free to use it.
In this blog post, I’ll attempt to clarify the position with respect to business use.
The basic principles are straightforward and there are three common forms of business use, which I cover in turn.
- Re-publishing a complete article
Unless a publisher website provides permission in its terms of service, or you otherwise gain permission (via a licence) it is not legal to republish a complete work (e.g. an entire news article) that is protected by copyright. Just because the content was accessible without cost, does not mean you are free to use it.
If you want to copy an article on your business’s web and social media pages, you can obtain permission from the relevant publisher or licensing body representing them. NLA represents 1430 news and 1406 magazine titles and grants permission to businesses for the re-use of anything from one article from a single publication (£154.00) to tens of articles from multiple publications.
- Summarising the article and linking back to the original on the publishers website
As long as the summary and link are attributed correctly and they simply act as a sign-post to the original online article, your business does not need publisher permission, or a licence to do this. However, be mindful that reproduction of even a few words from the article in the summary or link could constitute infringement. To limit this risk you should not reproduce any part of the article.
- Re-using part of or quoting from an article
If you simply want to use an excerpt from the article, what’s the copyright position?
Even if the work is protected by copyright, there are certain circumstances under which you can use quotations without having to get the permission of the copyright owner – as set out in S30 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. The key points are that: (a) you can only quote as much as is required for the specific purpose; (b) you give sufficient acknowledgement to the source of the quotation; (c) the use of the quotation is fair dealing. ‘Fair dealing’ is not a defined term so whether or not your use of a quotation falls under the exception is subjective. If in doubt as to whether the exception applies to your use, then please seek advice from our licensing team or consult your company lawyer.
In short, if your business wants to re-use someone else property it’s both polite and legally prudent to get permission!
Further independent advice can also be found on the Intellectual Property Office website