I’m starting a website business on pet care. I need to be able to use articles on my site as customer/visitor information on pet health, etc. My only source for these articles would be the web, but I’m not sure how copyright or plagiarism applies if I use articles that I search for and put them on my site. Any information on this would be very helpful. Thanks!
by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space
You can place links on your site to public articles on other websites. The links can contain a title, and often a brief description is fine. But you cannot post the articles on your site. This is a violation of copyright law, and you would be infringing on the copyright owners’ intellectual property. Do people post articles from other people’s websites on their own sites? Yes, but they are opening themselves up to legal action.
If you see an article or series of articles that you want to post on your website, you need to locate the copyright owner and ask for their explicit permission in writing. Often you will have to pay a licensing fee for the privilege of using the article. Finding the copyright owners can be tricky. Sometimes it’s the website owner, but often it’s someone else, either the author of the article or the original publisher of the article. You have to be careful to make sure you are talking to the legitimate copyright owner.
Also, sometimes there is more than one owner. The copyright could be shared by multiple authors and/or a publisher. So you need to make sure everyone has given you permission. When in doubt, you should error on the cautious side and not use the article.
I would recommend finding a publisher or two with a lot of articles that you need, and doing a comprehensive deal for the entire batch. You’ll probably have to pay, but it’s often less expensive and time consuming than either writing your own articles or hiring writers.
Good luck, and I hope this helps!