Newsletter editors are making themselves easy targets for copyright infringement lawsuits as they are either ignoring the copyright law or they seem to be unaware of the law.
Most newsletter editors end up infringing on copyright unintentionally. This is primarily because they do not understand the copyright law and just do not realize that they are doing something that is not legal.
If you are a newsletter editor, here is a copyright primer that will help you avoid any violations.
One of the most common ways that newsletter editors end up violating copyrights is by printing articles from other websites or publications without getting permission. They believe that they can do this as long as they are giving the credit to the source. However, this is not true. The only way articles can be reprinted without infringing copyright is through permission from the publication where it was first published. At times, it might also include getting the author’s permission rather than the publication’s. This depends on who holds the right to the article.
Next come facts and ideas. You can use facts and ideas from other articles to write a completely new article. Here, you do not have to get permission from the author of the original article as facts and ideas cannot be copyrighted. Just the words can be copyrighted. So, this basically means that even if you have a new and innovative way of increasing your readership or sales through your website and you write about it, another person can take your idea but not your words. However, just changing a few words will not suffice. You need to ensure that your article has a different structure and tone when compared to the original article.
As a newsletter editor, you should also pay attention to protecting the original articles you write in your newsletter from copyright infringement. Remember, you no longer have to register creative work as original articles automatically are copyrighted to the author based on the current copyright laws. But if you want, you can register your articles with the Copyright Office at the cost of $30. This way if you have to take anyone to court for copyright violation, you will be entitled to more compensation.