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Online newsletter and copyright

VickiJVickiJ subscriber Posts: 6
edited April 2006 in Marketing
Hello everyone. I`m thinking about publishing an online newsletter and I want to link to other websites. Does anyone know if I can link to those sites without infringing on copyright? Or do I need to ask their permission? I checked the copyright office website, but it didn`t really have the information I was looking for. Any input would be appreciated.


  • BardStuffBardStuff subscriber Posts: 7
    Some sites will try to cause you problems for "deep linking", namely bypassing their homepage/navigation and going straight to the content.  They`ll say that you`re bypassing their advertising.  Luckily I`ve found that such practices were shortlived and basically died out.  There was never really any legal foundation for such accusation, just scare tactics.In general, sites are happy to receive traffic anyway they can get it.  If you go writing original content that makes use of their trademarks or something, that`s a little different.  Likewise, if you copy content from their site and paste it into your newsletter, that could be a problem.  But just linking the site you should be fine.  You may even find that they encourage you to do so and want to get into a relationship where they send you their press releases in the hopes that you will link more.(My current company, which I do not own, sends out a travel letter to over 2 million people each week, containing mucho links to travel sites all around the web.  If we`ve ever had a problem, I`ve not heard about it.  And I`m in charge of the newsletter.)
  • keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    My experience has been that most companies/leaders are tickled to death to have eNewsletters link to their site and content. Saying that, it doesn`t hurt to let them know what you are doing. I`m no lawyer but I do not believe there is any legal issue with you providing a link to someone`s site (unless specifically stated on their site - I have seen this stated in the past - rarely).
    Whenever I do this, I always make sure I include a mention of the site/company with a "hot link" to their home page - this solves the issue mentioned above about bypassing main navigation on the mentioned site. And might mention the site name again when I link to the specific story/content that I am referencing or want my readers to read more about.
    This is a common practice in the eNewsletter world. And by talking to the companies you are mentioning, they may even provide a reciprocal service or link. If you never contact them and talk about commonalities, you`ll never know. A great way to expand your market by co-promotion. Most people I have encountered love it.
    R@ keycon2006-4-23 17:42:2
  • VickiJVickiJ subscriber Posts: 6
    Thanks guys! That`s exactly what I wanted hear. Since I`m focusing on a very limited geographical area I`ll probably be in contact with people at most of the sites I would link to. I`ll also be getting other info and news releases from them. I love the idea of reciprocal links.
    Thanks for the help!
  • NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    VickiJ,I come accross this question everyday especially with companys trying to link to other web sites. Here is what you are against and what you need to do to CYOA(cover your own A^&)Ok first try to use the old MLA style where you give credit to the person that wrote the article. Remember back in high school or college rule. Many companies like this because it gives them credibility and also have a small disclaimer that says something like we are not affiliated or somehow related or in direct business with.
    The third thing ,you need to do is call the companies that you want to quote or link to and tell them how excited you are and that you want to use their material for a newsletter, and perhaps send them a copy to make them feel comfortable.last thing is, another disclaimer saying that you are not liable for anyother companys embeded scripts (Javascripts) or any coding that may hurt your readers computer. Alot of web sites may contain code or viruses that you may not be aware. just cover your tracks, the best thing to do is do your own research and go about writing your article.
  • BardStuffBardStuff subscriber Posts: 7
    I have to respectfully disagree that you need most of that.  Unfortunately the "call and check first" approach, while safe and conservative, does not scale at all. Newsletters typically have deadlines (mine goes out weekly) - what do you do when it needs to go out and you haven`t heard back from your queries?  And what if you want to link a dozen or more sites in an issue?  That`s lots of queries to manage.  Asking permission means you have to plan to not get it.  But if you do link somebody and they don`t like it, the worst that happens is you`re told not to do it again.  To my knowledge nobody has ever won one of those "you deeplinked to us and we`re suing you" lawsuits.Likewise, nobody is really going to be tickled to death for the link unless a) they`re roughly your size or smaller, or b) you get so large that they notice a spike in their traffic.   While you`re in position A, link as much as you can to smaller companies that are likely to return the favor.  If you`re in a position to use B you have a great advantage -- go ahead and give some other sites free traffic, and then turn it off.  Watch them come snooping back saying "Can you turn that back on?"  And before you know it, you`ve got advertisers.  I`ve seen it happen .The disclaimer thing, eh, they never really hurt.  Just don`t do one of those interstitial popups that says "Hey, just so ya know, you`re about to leave this site and go somewhere else, k?  So, you now, I`m not responsible for anything, right?"  People hate that - and it`s one more click for them to make.  Every time you give them a choice to click you`re giving them a choice not to click, too.I do however completely agree that you`ve got to give credit to where you`re linking!  Don`t ever hide the source of the link.  And I like the idea of also offering a direct link to the homepage of the source, too, to alleviate those "you skipped out ads" complaints.D
  • RichardBuggyRichardBuggy subscriber Posts: 4
    If you`re writing your own copy then you`re not breaking copyright by linking to their website. The only time I`ve ever heard of any real issues involved a website including images from another website in their page. The company using the images tried to get around copyright by claiming they never actually made copies of the images.
  • VickiJVickiJ subscriber Posts: 6
    I don`t really think the sites I`m planning to link will have a problem with it. I will simply be directing more people to their sites for further info on subjects I`ll be writing about myself. I was just wondering about etiquette.
    Bardstuff, I like your idea of asking them down the road for advertising. That`s a real possibility.
  • NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    Vicki, send me a copy of your newsletter, when you are done.Secondly, it`s good to call the company you want to link to, besides if you have more than 12 links on your newsletter, is it really your company`s newsletter or helping other companies market their products and services? I myself don`t like linking to other sources, most of the stuff we write is in-house material, and in our newsletters we always talk about, web design tactics, web hosting services and what to be careful with, current security issues, domain name registration specials. If any one is interested send me an email, and I woul gladly send you info. Vicki my email is: [email protected] I wasnt to see your newsletter when you are done
  • LogoMotivesLogoMotives subscriber Posts: 15
    Requesting permission is a common courtesy and just good business.  I always appreciate being asked before links to my articles (or the articles themselves) are posted on other sites.  I get a little tweaked at times when my articles are posted on sites without permission - or links to my articles are posted on sites where I may not want them to appear. For example, I prefer to not have my articles, or links to my articles, on retail sites resulting in it coming across as an endorsement for a particular product or service.As an additional courtesy, when I do give permission for my articles to be used by a publication or web site I ask that they include the line "Published with permission of the author.  Originally published by (or "posted on") XXXXXXXXX."  My book publisher usually asks that "Printed with permission...." line is included when excerpts are printed from my book.  - J.
    LogoMotives2006-4-24 17:8:35
  • VickiJVickiJ subscriber Posts: 6
    Thank you, Brian. I`ve been thinking about it and, in my case, calling or emailing to ask permission is only going to help me make more contacts with people I want to get to know. These will be sources of news and other content in my newsletter and on my website.
    BTW, I`m using the word "newsletter" in its original sense - almost like a small newspaper instead of as a marketing tool. But it might be a marketing tool for other products in the future. It will contain mostly original stories and features and pictures. But I`m sure I`ll find it useful to link to other sites often.
    Thanks for all the feedback. Keep it coming! 
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