I have been blogging for years and I am not sure what the diffence is between posting a link and "fair use." I thought that was what I doing? I have never claimed to have written anything I have not.
Anyone out there know what fair use means?

An email I received.

As a humanist (and I count myself among those ranks) you should know better than to blatantly steal intellectual property – one of the tenets of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Copying my article (“Doll pulled off Kmart shelves – for now,” Dec. 12 Missoulian, and reprinted in the Billings Gazette, Dec. 14) and pasting it on your blog is a violation of U.S. copyright laws.

You are, of course, free to link to the original article and paste original text on your blog as per “fair use.”
I appreciate your interest in this story. But please follow the law.



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Comment by Paxdora Kosmosian on December 16, 2008 at 9:15am
There is a big difference between "plagiarism" and copyright violation. It is important to learn the distinctions - I always go to Wikipedia first when I want to learn something fast. They provide lots of useful links for in-depth comprehension.
Comment by Robin Johnson-Perkins - Babel Fish on December 15, 2008 at 8:24pm
As a citizen journalist I use newsvine.com policy on copyrights, a link to the article seeded and a few pararaphs of the article and then my own opinion. Picture should be open domain any pictures that have a copyright and not restricted to re-publication I add the copyright. A.qu comment gives links to good complete guides.

You have to look at this subject at how you would hate to see your own copyrights being invaded and used without permission or respect. If you are a creative ideas writer you certainly do not want people pinching your ideas and putting their own name to it.
Comment by A.Ou on December 15, 2008 at 7:15pm
Fair use allows you to reproduce certain copyrighted material without the express permission of the copyright holder - i.e., making copies for educational purposes, quoting short passages in an analysis, making a parody of a previous work, etc. This prevents you from being sued unfairly if your use of copyrighted works is legitimate. Just as long as you're not copying text verbatim without proper attribution, you should be fine.

A Primer in Modern Intellectual Property Law gives a useful overview.

Also, copyright reform is a hotly debated topic nowadays. If you want to know more, Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig is a good book that argues for reform of the copyright system. Since it's released under a Creative Commons license (a liberal form of copyright), you can download the ebook for free.
Comment by Lori Gilliland on December 15, 2008 at 7:14pm

If you look into this so called fabricated controversy, its shameful how something like this is promoted in the newspapers as a news story.
I love snopes.

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