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I notice few applications in App Store use articles from news web-sites such a New York Time, The Guardian etc. But, they do not use photos or graphics (actually they use their own photos and graphics) but only text. They take few parts of particular article, main theses and compile it to an article. But they still put source of content.

NYTime's Permissions & policies says

In most contexts, rights to use article text only (without photographs, graphics, etc.) can be obtained instantly by clicking the Reprints link that appears on most article pages on NYTimes.com.

Is it legal to use content like it?

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It's legal to use copyrighted material provided you get permission from the copyright holder. In this case, there's an easy way to get the rights to the text, so presumably the users did it and everything is legal.

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