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Using Third-party Texts

Copyright-protected works may not be used without the consent of the author (or the beneficial owner). Otherwise, these parties may demand damages – typically in the amount that a license to use the work would have cost. They may also be able to demand attorneys’ fees. Copyright infringement can be costly!

Copyright Protection Applies to Various Works, including

  • literary works (poems, novels, books)
  • non-literary works (works of journalism, such as newspaper articles and online articles)
  • scholarly works (scholarly or scientific articles, dissertations, etc.)

Texts that are considered generally accessible common property are not protected, for example, official works (laws, regulations, announcements) or information and events (also including scientific and scholarly findings and discoveries such as formulas, but these items could, under certain circumstances, be protected by patents).

Our Recommendation

  • You may not post newspaper articles or reviews on your website as text or PDFs.
  • Good alternative: Insert a link to the article in question. However, keep in mind that media outlets generally do not keep content available on demand indefinitely. To keep viewers from receiving error messages, links to specific pieces should be reviewed regularly.
  • If possible, clarify rights in writing before using others' works.

Background: Copyright

Copyright protects personal intellectual creations. It arises and shall apply from the creation of a particular work. Texts and speeches, photos and movies, paintings, prints and drawings, as well as (city) maps or tables are all protected.