“Can I include scans of newspaper articles in my book? My book IS educational.”

“Can I include scans of newspaper articles in my book? My book IS educational.”

Q –

“I want to include scans of newspaper articles in my book. Since my book is non-fiction, will the educational exception to copyright law apply?”

A –

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Consult with your attorney for your individual legal needs.

That said, the educational exception to copyright law was primarily created to allow teachers to use copyrighted material in the classroom. Teachers are not profiting from sharing that information. When an author publishes a book, that book will sell and the author can then profit from using the content included in that book.

In a nutshell, you will be seeking to make a profit on your book, and using the newspaper’s content will help you earn that profit. It’s only fair (and lawful) to give the newspaper the opportunity to benefit from the use of THEIR material as well. If the newspaper articles appear online, it would be more advantageous to the newspaper to provide links in your book to the newspaper’s website, where readers will see advertisements that support that newspaper.

If the articles are not online, you would need to request permission from the newspaper to include those scans in your book, provided those articles aren’t so old that they’re now in the public domain. The newspaper will likely say yes, provided correct attribution is provided. The big problem when doing this is that newspapers can take several weeks to respond.

I have always lived by this motto: When in doubt, DON’T.

Where the law is concerned, never assume you can use someone else’s copyrighted material without asking permission or contacting an attorney for advice. And, never, ever, ever use material thinking you’ll just remove it later if you get a cease and desist letter. By that time, the damage has been done and you’ll be setting yourself up for a copyright infringement lawsuit, which can bankrupt you.


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