I found a website with good and rich content that is generated by its users. It's a kind of professional social media that people write long content.

The website is too old, and it's usually not easy to find its contents by search engines.

I've decided to crawl & copy the website contents and publish those contents on another domain, but I'll link to the original source. Above each article, it might be something like:

"Originally posted on example.com by John Doe"

Is there any copyright or legal issues with that?

  • 2
    If you had a license that allows this usage, you wouldn't need to ask the question (you'd either use that license or need to go and find it).
    – Nij
    Sep 20 at 9:32
  • @Nij I wonder if a license is needed! He is asking about the web, not a book! The web is known for being public and open. If you post a link to the source website, I assume it should be fine! I know some news agencies that are doing this. Even search engines have defined a specific method to inform them about the original source for the content which they call it Canonicalization Sep 20 at 11:42
  • 1
    To the OP, I think this question is answered already if you click on the "copyright" tag on this site, and read the FAQ page about it.
    – Brandin
    Sep 20 at 12:39
  • 1
    Perhaps you should read the answers to questions about copyright yourself, @MohammadKermani. Your assumption is totally incorrect.
    – Nij
    Sep 20 at 21:02
  • 1
    @Mohammad Kermani News agencies do not typically copy an entire site. They summarize it , give a short quote, and link. That would normally be fair use. Copyign the whole site or a major part of it usually would not be.n addition, reportage on a site is transformative, cloning it is not. In short I think your comment is incorrect. Sep 20 at 22:47

There are copyright issues with this proposal. First among them is that this is a very standard case of copyright infringement. The fact that the material you are doing is online does nothing to change that. Posting a link back to the original source does nothing to change that.

  • 2
    It's conceivable that the website contributions are made under a copyright license that allows redistribution with attribution (as, for example, StackExchange does), in which case the OP's plan might work. But if that's the case, that license information will be available somewhere on the website. Sep 20 at 14:23

Content posted to the web is usually openly accessible to all (unless protected by a password, paywall, or similar restriction). But that does not mean it is freely copyable by all. Such content is protected by copyright in just the same way as if it had been published in a book of essays by various contributors.

Unless the copyright holders (who are likely to be the original authors, but might not be) give permission, or an exception to copyright applies, copying such content would be clear and obvious copyright infringement, and any copyright holder could sue for damages.

Permission could be given by publishing the content under a permissive license, such as a CC-BY-SA license, or any of many other available permissive licenses. Or a would-be reuser could find the copyright holders and ask for permission. If the holder cannot be found or identified, or does not respond, then no permission has been granted.

In the US the main exception to copyright is fair use. See this answer and other threads with the tag here for more on fair use. Since the question seems to contemplate using the whole of the posted content, since it might well damage any potential market for that content, and since the use does not seem to be "transformative", nor used for criticism or comment, a finding of fair use for this situation seems unlikely. But Fair use findings are very much fact-driven, and the exact facts do matter. Thus I cannot be at all sure whether a court would find this toi be fair use or not.

In other countries there are a variety of exceptions to copyright, and I have not come close to reviewing them all. But none of the ones I know of seem to apply to the situation described in the questiuon. Many are narrower than the US concept of fair use.

I fear that without permission, copying this content would be infringement. However, it would not be infringement to create a site that includes a link to the existing content, and a summary or description of that content, along with new content, including comments on the old, with brief quotes to indicate what is being commented on.

  • I wish that any downvoters would leave a comment indicting what they think is wrong with this answer. In the absence of a comment, I cannot improve the answer, others cannot use the reasons to write better answers, and readers have no idea why someone objects to the answer. Such a downvote seems pointless. Sep 20 at 22:50
  • Maybe it just needs review for spelling, punctuation. People were too lazy to make corrections themselves, but found that a downvote for such things was in order.
    – Brandin
    Sep 21 at 11:46

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