Case description

  1. a person in the European Union (not US) collects digital written notes on research they are conducting. These take a form of excerpts (sometimes even multiple paragraphs), annotations, quotes, sometimes stored images, or embedded images via links to 3rd party sources (EU, as well as US and other sources). Note: let's assume that all excerpts are marked as quotes and include link/citation to the original source
  2. some of these 3rd party sources are public domain, some are creative commons licensed, some are clearly copyrighted and some have unstated terms (typically no terms and conditions included in the blog)
  3. I understand that for strictly personal purposes and in private, such notes collection is excluded from copyright protection in most jurisdictions.
  4. at certain point the person decides to create a blog on which they will publish these notes.
  5. The person publishes the notes in a good faith to facilitate own and community's further research and also claims so prominently on their website, albeit in plain language, no legalese. The intent is to eventually also publish analyses and syntheses in a form of blog posts, which however rely on the recorded notes and the linked sources. We could call this a "public second-brain webblog".
  6. there is no profit seeking, no advertisement, just plain publication of originally private notes for the purpose of sharing it with friends and seeking either discussion on topics of those excerpts and notes, or seeking commentary on own syntheses of the included notes.
  7. a 3rd party whose copyright was violated gets upset and decides to act.


Despite that copyright laws have some (significant) gray area, it's clear that such a published collection of notes would infringe on 3rd copyright. Our note-taker person clearly has a problem.

This question is somewhat similar to this one.


  1. what are the relevant practices and processes? I.e., is a take-down notice (EU Copyright Directive/DMCA) an obligatory step by the violated party? Or could they automatically proceed to more aggressive legal step?
  2. what are the relevant worst-case consequences of legal proceedings by the 3rd party in EU jurisdictions, assuming that the person which committed copyright infringement is both responsive to take-down notices and complies with all other requests, potentially including website shutdown?
  3. except for deciding not to publish the website in the first place, what could be the mitigation measures the person should perform to minimise impact of their publishing the notes content?

I would be interested to hear also about specific cases of this happening in EU jurisdictions, ideally with links to descriptions of their outcomes/decisions.

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