If an article that doesn't abide by fair use is published on a bulletin, it definitely seems that the author of the article would be liable. But would the bulletin be as well? In other words, does a bulletin or similar publishing party need to inspect the legality of articles it posts, or is that primarily the author of the article's responsibility?

An example could be a church bulletin that unknowingly shares an article quoting a Bible translation without attribution. While the author of the article would likely be liable to be sued by the copyright owners of the Bible translation—at least in theory, anyway—would any bulletins that publish the articles also be liable, meaning that before they post, they need to inspect the articles for potential legal issues?

1 Answer 1


A publisher also "needs" to inspect the legality of anything that it publishes: they too can be sued for copyright infringement. Publishers protect themselves in two ways. First, via their review and acceptance procedures they attempt to detect infringement, following general (not necessarily reliable) guidelines as to how much copying is "fair use". Second, the license agreement / copyright transfer contains an indemnification clause whereby the author vows that they have the sole right to authorize publication of the material, and the author agrees to legally protect the publisher (pay their legal costs and any judgments, etc) in case their have infringes copyright, or any other legal harm that could arise from publishing the author's contribution. (Incidentally, quoting without attribution has nothing to do with copyright infringement, instead that is the unrelated legal but intellectually scurrilous practice of plagiarism, or at least sloppy work. Copyright infringement is copying without permission).

  • As for copying without attribution, perhaps further elaboration may help. Say a small church publishes religious articles written by several preachers from different areas. One preacher quotes a Bible version in his article without attributing the translation being used. If, for example, it's the New King James Version, which says to use a copyright acknowledgment, would the church be liable for publishing the article? Does a church need to scan every time a verse is quoted and determine the translation used? Source: biblegateway.com/versions/New-King-James-Version-NKJV-Bible/…
    – The Editor
    Nov 3, 2021 at 16:51
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    The copyright holder has a special license at thomasnelson.com/about-us/permissions/#permissionBiblequote, whereby written permission is not included; their license does include a specific attribution text as one of the license conditions. So you would need to know that Thomas Nelson holds copyright, and has this special license. But "fair use" can overcome their conditions (which allows more copying that is fair use). A single verse is covered by fair use. So you need to do an informed fair use analysis first.
    – user6726
    Nov 3, 2021 at 19:02
  • Thanks! Is the line separating fair use quotations from non-fair use bold or blurred? In other words, is there an objective limit separating a fair-use quotation from an unfair one, or is it more subjective than that?
    – The Editor
    Nov 4, 2021 at 15:48

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