This question is about English-language "news" sites (i.e. sites that have articles about something new that has happened in e.g. science, technology, or some other area of interest) which I am guessing are located here in USA, for the purpose of my interest in limiting the jurisdiction in this question.

In this case this question is specifically related to writing "news" articles about news that are covered at other news sites.

The issue is that I have frequently seen different sites write articles about something new that has happened and these articles often make a reference to some other news site where the news item had first appeared.

The questions I wanted to ask are:

  1. Is this thing of copying the gist of a news item, or paraphrasing a news article that has appeared at some other site, copyright infringement?
  2. Or is it covered by the fair-use laws that exist in USA?
  3. If it is not covered by fair-use laws, how do so many different news sites get around writing about the same subject without infringing on a copyright? Are there some informal agreements or formal contracts that cover for this?

1 Answer 1


The pattern that you are probably referring to is well over the line of "fair use", especially when articles appear in multiple outlets with vast amounts of verbatim copying. There is no way for a reader to know if the article is a licensed copy, versus a pirated copy, except in the rare case that the article includes a by-line indicating that it comes from e.g. the New York Times. UPI, AP and Reuters were big agencies that distributed news articles -- they still operate, but don't seem to insist on the by-line as they did in the 60's.

You must log in to answer this question.