What’s the policy on copyrights?
Our sponsor, the Chicago READER, has a strict policy on respecting copyrights and copyrighted material. They don’t want their stuff used by others without permission, and so we don’t use stuff created by others without permission. Basically, The policy is : don’t do it.
The rules of the Straight Dope Message Board are enforced by volunteer moderators who are not all legal experts in these matters. So we offer a set of guidelines that may be more conservative or stringent than the law in your jurisdiction, but that we think may help avoid the copyright violation issue. In this as in many other matters we depend not only on moderator enforcement, but also ask for the cooperation and goodwill of our posters.
(1) If you are going to quote something from an article, quote less than 5% of the source. Include a link to the article if the article is available online.
(2) Only quote directly in very rare circumstances. Instead of repeating a source word-for-word, read the article, attempt to understand it, and rephrase what it says in your own words. Again, include a link to the source if the source is available online. Otherwise indicate a reference to the source (e.g. Science News, issue x, pages yy-zz).
(3) Minor changes in quoted text are permitted, as long as such changes are clearly identified (e.g., ellipses … for omitted material, square brackets for added material, etc.) Changes that alter the tenor or interject editorial comment are not permitted. If you want to comment on a quote, do it outside the quotation marks or quote tags.
(4) If you’re quoting from short works – such as song lyrics, poems, short prose, etc: please quote only what is sufficient to make your point. Generally, that would be a few lines at most. If you want to refer to long passages, provide a hyperlink to a site that has rights to reproduce the material.