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I am reposting the policy on posting articles in this forum seeing as a lot of you may be missing it in the location its currently in. Urbanplanet has been great to us and very responsive to our ideas and suggestions. They have given us the space provided to talk about our area and exchange our ideas freely. There are but a few rules on this site and one of the newest and most important is the policy on posting articles. Please read below.

UrbanPlanet as it continues to grow and attract new users has decided that it must enforce policies regarding copyright.

As such, posting entire articles from coprighted sources is now not allowed. We are not requiring people to go back and edit articles that have already been posted, but going forward we will be asking people not to post full articles.

What you can do is create an abstract or paraphase the important points from the article and then provide a link to the full article. It is also fair use to quote selected passages from an article and link back to the original.

Also if you post photos or renderings that are not your own, please include a link to the source of those images. You should also be copying the images and loading them to your own hosting, hotlinking images from someone elses server is considered bad netiquette as it uses that person's bandwidth. If you have permission to hotlink someone elses images, note that you have permission in your post. Also, you can simply provide a link to the source.

For news outlets that require registration, and for those that do not wish to register, UrbanPlanet recommends the use of BugMeNot. Personally, I have a junk email account that I use for registering that way I have no worries about unwanted email in my main account.

If anyone makes a post that infringes on the copyright policies going forward, It will edited by the moderators as needed or deleted. If you find yourself questioning if something can or cannot be posted, likely it cannot.

Thank you for your cooperation!


As said above, something as simple as taking a few paragraphs out of your article will bring you within compliance of this policy. I will not go around deleting articles but when i do come across one that appears to be posted in full i will simply send a friendly reminder, via pm, to the poster of that article to amend his/her post. Thanks in advance for your cooperation and thank you for helping Urban Planet and the Virginia forum grow into what it is today. Keep posting! :D

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We're happy that vdogg has agreed to become a moderator for UP. He was one of the first Virginians to come to UP and consistently post here, even when there weren't any other Virginians here to talk to. :lol:

I don't have to be the outsider trying to moderate this section anymore. :)

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We're happy that vdogg has agreed to become a moderator for UP. He was one of the first Virginians to come to UP and consistently post here, even when there weren't any other Virginians here to talk to.  :lol:

I don't have to be the outsider trying to moderate this section anymore.  :)


lol, you're always welcome here Cotuit. No need to be a stranger. :D .

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  • 2 months later...

should be fine posting entire article as long as it is sourced.  This is a forum site that is about discussing what is going on in the world, not a money making news source.


The decision on this policy has already been made and is a direct result of requests for removal of copyrighted material from our site and other similar sites. It is the site owner who is held financially liable for any violation of copyright law and the site owner has decided this to be a necessary move to minimize risk.

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should be fine posting entire article as long as it is sourced.  This is a forum site that is about discussing what is going on in the world, not a money making news source.

Actually it is not. Yes, in some cases it is ok, but we do not have the man power to decide what is and what is not acceptable use so we are defaulting to enforce this policy.

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seems a bit dumb on their part, but oh well.  Not like the papers and web new sources are putting out completely true information.

but it isnt my website, so oh well, I will just post dumb links for articles.


You don't have to just post links. As is stated clearly above you may paraphrase the article or post a paragraph or two from the article along with a link. Nothing has changed at all from the way you have been posting articles since you have signed up on this site. The reminder i posted in the HR forum was due to several of our new forumers posting the full and complete article and not providing a link. I subsequently had to edit several of those articles. From what i can tell the manner in which you have been normally posting articles is in full compliance with this rule.

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paraphrasing is a stupid thing to have to do. I would rather people red it the way the article says rather than translate it for people. I have posted articles in skyscraperpage and have never had a problem with it. I always post the author and source it comes from, so I am having a hard time understanding how that violates copyrights if in no way I would be taking credit for the article.

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paraphrasing is a stupid thing to have to do.  I would rather people red it the way the article says rather than translate it for people.  I have posted articles in skyscraperpage and have never had a problem with it.  I always post the author and source it comes from, so I am having a hard time understanding how that violates copyrights if in no way I would be taking credit for the article.


Well, i have explained it as best i can. I understand that other sites may not have that rule in place but it is a rule for this site and one that i must enforce. I do understand your objections however as i pointed out it is not a decision that was made for no reason. Beyond that, we will simply have to agree to disagree. Unless site admin decides at some point in time to change the policy this will be the policy that is in effect.

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To clear this up, here is the official law on copyright infringement for all multimedia works (including newspaper articles):


Copyright 1994 by J. Dianne Brinson and Mark F. Radcliffe

Contact: [email protected]

Cross Reference: "Licensing Still Images"

LICENSE NOTICE: This article may be copied in its entirety for personal or educational use (the copy should include a License Notice at the beginning and at the end). It may posted on gopher and FTP sites, but please provide notice of such posting to the authors at the address above. It may not be modified without the written permission of the authors. This primer is based on the Multimedia Law Handbook which is designed to provide accurate information on the legal issues in multimedia. The primer is provided with the understanding that the authors are not engaged in rendering legal services. If you have a legal problem, you should seek the advice of experienced counsel.


This primer will help you understand the legal issues in developing and distributing multimedia works. It is based on the Multimedia Law Handbook from Ladera Press, which has been endorsed by the Interactive Multimedia Association. This summary of the law should not be viewed as "answering" most questions (the Multimedia Law Handbook discusses these issues in more detail in 340 pages and includes eighteen sample agreements to show how these issues are dealt within actual transactions; you can order the book by calling 800-523-3721). Legal matters in multimedia are frequently complex and you should not rely on the information in this primer alone. You should consult with experienced counsel before making any final decisions. Multimedia products require a knowledge of the four major forms of intellectual property as well as the laws governing rights of publicity, defamation and libel.

There are four major intellectual property laws in the United States that are important for multimedia developers:

Copyright law, which protects original "works of authorship."

Patent law, which protects new, useful, and "nonobvious" inventions and processes.

Trademark law, which protects words, names, and symbols used by manufacturers and businesses to identify their goods and services.

Trade secret law, which protects valuable information not generally known that has been kept secret by its owner.

This primer will focus on U.S. copyright law because copyright law is the most important of these laws for most multimedia developers and publishers.

Copyright Law

There are two reasons why it is important for you as a multimedia developer or publisher to be familiar with the basic principles of copyright law:

Multimedia works are created by combining "content" - music, text, graphics, illustrations, photographs, software - that is protected under copyright law. Developers and publishers must avoid infringing copyrights owned by others.

Original multimedia works are protected by copyright. The Copyright Act's exclusive rights provision gives developers and publishers the right to control unauthorized exploitation of their works.

Copyright law is a "federal" law and the law does not vary from state to state (although the interpretation of the law may be different in different courts).

Basic Principles

This section summarizes the basic principles of copyright law, including the types of works that are protected by copyright, how copyright protection is obtained, and the scope of the protection.

Works Protected

Copyright protection is available for "works of authorship." The Copyright Act states that works of authorship include the following types of works which are of interest to the multimedia developer:

Literary works. Novels, nonfiction prose, poetry, newspaper articles and newspapers, magazine articles and magazines, computer software, software manuals, training manuals, manuals, catalogs, brochures, ads (text), and compilations such as business directories

Musical works. Songs, advertising jingles, and instrumentals.

Dramatic works. Plays, operas, and skits.

Pantomimes and choreographic works. Ballets, modern dance, jazz dance, and mime works.

Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works. Photographs, posters, maps, paintings, drawings, graphic art, display ads, cartoon strips and cartoon characters, stuffed animals, statues, paintings, and works of fine art.

Motion pictures and other audiovisual works. Movies, documentaries, travelogues, training films and videos, television shows, television ads, and interactive multimedia works.

Sound recordings. Recordings of music, sounds, or words.

Obtaining Copyright Protection

Copyright protection arises automatically when an "original" work of authorship is "fixed" in a tangible medium of expression. Registration with the Copyright Office is optional (but you have to register before you file an infringement suit, and registering early will make you eligible to receive attorney's fees and statutory damages in a future lawsuit).

Here's what "original" and "fixed" mean in copyright law:

Originality: A work is original in the copyright sense if it owes its origin to the author and was not copied from some preexisting work.

Fixation: A work is "fixed" when it is made "sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration." Even copying a computer program into RAM has been found to be of sufficient duration for it to be "fixed" (although some scholars and lawyers disagree with this conclusion).

Neither the "originality" requirement nor the "fixation" requirement is stringent. An author can "fix" words, for example, by writing them down, typing them on an old-fashioned typewriter, dictating them into a tape recorder, or entering them into a computer. A work can be original without being novel or unique.

Example: Betsy's book How to Lose Weight is original in the copyright sense so long as Betsy did not create her book by copying existing material - even if it's the millionth book to be written on the subject of weight loss.

Only minimal creativity is required to meet the originality requirement. No artistic merit or beauty is required.

A work can incorporate preexisting material and still be original. When preexisting material is incorporated into a new work, the copyright on the new work covers only the original material contributed by the author.

Example: Developer's multimedia work incorporates a number of photographs that were made by Photographer (who gave Developer permission to use the photographs in the multimedia work). The multimedia work as a whole owes its origin to Developer, but the photographs do not. The copyright on the multimedia work does not cover the photographs, just the material created by Developer.

Scope of Protection

Copyright protects against "copying" the "expression" in a work as opposed to the idea of the work. The difference between "idea" and "expression" is one of the most difficult concepts in copyright law. The most important point to understand is that the protection of the "expression" is not limited to exact copying either of the literal words of a novel or the shape of stuffed bear. Copyright infringement extends to new works which are "substantially similar".

A copyright owner has five exclusive rights in the copyrighted work:

Reproduction Right. The reproduction right is the right to copy, duplicate, transcribe, or imitate the work in fixed form.

Modification Right. The modification right (also known as the derivative works right) is the right to modify the work to create a new work. A new work that is based on a preexisting work is known as a "derivative work."

Distribution Right. The distribution right is the right to distribute copies of the work to the public by sale, rental, lease, or lending.

Public Performance Right. The public performance right is the right to recite, play, dance, act, or show the work at public place or to transmit it to the public. In the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, showing the work's images in sequence is considered "performance." Some types of works, such as sound recordings, do not have a public performance right.

Public Display Right. The public display right is the right to show a copy of the work directly or by means of a film, slide, or television image at a public place or to transmit it to the public. In the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, showing the work's images out of sequence is considered "display."

In addition, certain types of works of "visual art" also have "moral rights" which limit the modification of the work and the use of the author's name without permission from the original author.

Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of a copyright owner is an infringer.

Example: Developer scanned Photographer's copyrighted photograph, altered the image by using digital editing software, and included the altered version of the photograph in a multimedia work that Developer sold to consumers. If Developer used Photographer's photograph without permission, Developer infringed Photographer's copyright by violating the reproduction right (scanning the photograph), the modification right (altering the photograph), and the distribution right (selling the altered photograph in his work).

A copyright owner can recover actual or, in some cases, statutory damages (which can be as high as $100,000 in some cases) from an infringer. In addition, courts have the power to issue injunctions (orders) to prevent or restrain copyright infringement and to order the impoundment and destruction of infringing copies.

The term of copyright protection depends on three factors: who created the work, when the work was created, and when it was first distributed commercially. For copyrightable works created on and after January 1, 1978, the copyright term for those created by individuals is the life of the author plus 50 years. The copyright term for "works made for hire" (see below) is 75 years from the date of first "publication" (distribution of copies to the general public) or 100 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first.

Generally, the copyright is owned by the person (or persons) who create the work. However, if the work is created by employee within the scope of his or her employment, the employer owns the copyright because it is a "work for hire." The copyright law also includes another form of "work for hire": it applies only to certain types of works which are specially commissioned works. These works include audiovisual works, which will include most multimedia projects. In order to qualify the work as a "specially commissioned" work for hire, the creator must sign a written agreement stating that it is a "work for hire" prior to commencing development of the product (please note that this primer deals only with United States law; most foreign jurisdictions do not recognize the "specially commissioned" work for hire, and you need an assignment to transfer rights in those countries).

Avoiding Copyright Infringement

Current technology makes it fairly easy to combine material created by others - film and television clips, music, graphics, photographs, and text - into a multimedia product. The technical ease of copying these works does not give you the legal right to do so. If you use copyrighted material owned by others without getting permission you can incur liability for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in damages.

Most of the third-party material you will want to use in your multimedia product is protected by copyright. Using copyrighted material without getting permission - either by obtaining an "assignment" or a "license"- can have disastrous consequences. The owner of the copyright can prevent the distribution of your product and obtain damages from you for infringement, even if you did not intentionally include his or her material. An assignment is generally understood to transfer all of the intellectual property rights in a particular work, although an assignment can be more limited in scope. A license provides the right to use a work and is generally quite limited. A discussion of the terms of licenses and assignments is beyond the scope of this primer; it requires several entire chapters in the Multimedia Law Handbook.

Consider the following example:

Productions, Inc. created an interactive multimedia training work called You Can Do It. The script was written by a freelance writer. You Can Do It includes an excerpt from a recording of Julie Andrews singing Climb Every Mountain. It ends with a photograph of Lauren Bacall shown above the words, "Good luck."

In this example, if the Productions staff did not obtain permission to use the recording of Climb Every Mountain or the photo of Lauren Bacall, You Can Do It infringes three copyrights: the copyright on the song, the copyright on the Julie Andrews recording of the song, and the copyright on the photograph. Productions is also infringing Lauren Bacall's right of publicity (which is separate from copyright) by the commercial use of her image. Furthermore, if Productions did not acquire ownership of the script from the freelance writer, Productions does not have clear title to Do It, and distribution of Do It may infringe the writer's copyright in the script. Any of the copyright owners whose copyrights are infringed may be able to get a court order preventing further distribution of this multimedia product.


There are a number of myths out there concerning the necessity of getting a license. Here are five. Don't make the mistake of believing them:

Myth #1: "The work I want to use doesn't have a copyright notice on it, so it's not copyrighted. I'm free to use it."

Most published works contain a copyright notice. However, for works published on or after March 1, 1989, the use of copyright notice is optional. The fact that a work doesn't have a copyright notice doesn't mean that the work is not protected by copyright.

Myth #2: "I don't need a license because I'm using only a small amount of the copyrighted work."

It is true that de minimis copying (copying a small amount) is not copyright infringement. Unfortunately, it is rarely possible to tell where de minimis copying ends and copyright infringement begins. There are no "bright line" rules.

Copying a small amount of a copyrighted work is infringement if what is copied is a qualitatively substantial portion of the copied work. In one case, a magazine article that used 300 words from a 200,000-word autobiography written by President Gerald Ford was found to infringe the copyright on the autobiography. Even though the copied material was only a small part of the autobiography, the copied portions were among the most powerful passages in the autobiography. Copying any part of a copyrighted work is risky. If what you copy is truly a tiny and nonmemorable part of the work, you may get away with it (the work's owner may not be able to tell that your work incorporates an excerpt from the owner's work). However, you run the risk of having to defend your use in expensive litigation. If you are copying, it is better to get a permission or a license (unless fair use applies). You cannot escape liability for infringement by showing how much of the protected work you did not take.

Myth #3: "Since I'm planning to give credit to all authors whose works I copy, I don't need to get licenses."

If you give credit to a work's author, you are not a plagiarist (you are not pretending that you authored the copied work). However, attribution is not a defense to copyright infringement.

Myth #4: "My multimedia work will be a wonderful showcase for the copyright owner's work, so I'm sure the owner will not object to my use of the work."

Don't assume that a copyright owner will be happy to have you use his or her work. Even if the owner is willing to let you use the work, the owner will probably want to charge you a license fee. Content owners view multimedia as a new market for licensing their material.

In 1993, ten freelance writers sued the New York Times and other publishers over the unauthorized publication of their work through online computer services. And the Harry Fox Agency and other music publishers have sued CompuServe, an online computer service, over the distribution of their music on the service.

Myth #5: "I don't need a license because I'm going to alter the work I copy."

Generally, you cannot escape liability for copyright infringement by altering or modifying the work you copy. If you copy and modify protected elements of a copyrighted work, you will be infringing the copyright owner's modification right as well as the copying right.

When You Don't Need a License

You don't need a license to use a copyrighted work in three circumstances: (1) if your use is fair use; (2) if the work you use is in the public domain; or (3) if the material you use is factual or an idea.

Fair Use

You don't need a license to use a copyrighted work if your use is "fair use." Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell whether a particular use of a work is fair or unfair. Determinations are made on a case-by-case basis by considering four factors:

Factor #1: Purpose and character of use. The courts are most likely to find fair use where the use is for noncommercial purposes, such as a book review.

Factor #2: Nature of the copyrighted work. The courts are most likely to find fair use where the copied work is a factual work rather than a creative one.

Factor #3: Amount and substantiality of the portion used. The courts are most likely to find fair use where what is used is a tiny amount of the protected work. If what is used is small in amount but substantial in terms of importance - the heart of the copied work - a finding of fair use is unlikely.

Factor #4: Effect on the potential market for or value of the protected work. The courts are most likely to find fair use where the new work is not a substitute for the copyrighted work.

If your multimedia work serves traditional "fair use" purposes - criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research - you have a better chance of falling within the bounds of fair use than you do if your work is a sold to the public for entertainment purposes and for commercial gain.

Public Domain

You don't need a license to use a public domain work. Public domain works - works not protected by copyright - can be used by anyone. Because these works are not protected by copyright, no one can claim the exclusive rights of copyright for such works. For example, the plays of Shakespeare are in the public domain. Works enter the public domain in several ways: the term of the copyright may have expired, the copyright owner may have failed to "renew" his copyright under the old Copyright Act of 1909, or the copyright owner may have failed to properly use copyright notice (of importance only for works created before March 1, 1989, at which time copyright notice became optional). The rules regarding what works are in the public domain are too complex for this primer, and they vary from country to country.

Ideas or Facts

You don't need a license to copy facts from a protected work or to copy ideas from a protected work. The copyright on a work does not extend to the work's facts. This is because copyright protection is limited to original works of authorship, and no one can claim originality or authorship for facts. You are free to copy facts from a copyrighted work.

Creating Your Own Works

Naturally, you don't need a copyright license for material which you create yourself. However, you should be aware that the rules regarding ownership of copyright are complex. You should not assume that you own the copyright if you pay an independent contractor to create the work (or part of it). In fact, generally the copyright in a work is owned by the individual who creates the work, except for full-time employees working within the scope of their employment and copyrights which are assigned in writing.

Copyright 1994 by J. Dianne Brinson and Mark F. Radcliffe

The last statement is in bold because it points out that while you are likely to be considered "fair use" it is not definitive and I'd still be taken to court regardless. I'd like to not have to miss a day of work to go to court over copyright infringement, but that's just me.

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