Copyright law gives authors the exclusive right to reproduce their own copyrighted works (or to authorize or prohibit any copy of their works). In Europe at least, it also gives authors the exclusive right to communicate, or to authorize or prohibit any communication to the public of their copyrighted works.
This author has known many authors who upload short stories to their own websites, intending the short stories to be free for new and established readers to enjoy on the authors' own websites, or, if the authors say so, for visitors to the authors sites to download for personal, private reading.
Anyone who snags those free stories and publishes them elsewhere for their own glory or profit is a copyright infringer, at least in the EU. Anyone who downloads those free stories from an unauthorised third part is also a copyright infringer.
Blogger Luke Moulton of the law firm Wright Hassall LLP has penned a very helpful and quite lengthy article explaining Communication Rights and Reproduction Rights and much more. He also has a very clear chart explaining the difference between legal and not-legal uses of other peoples' copyrighted work.
So, there you have it!
Thank you, Luke Moulton!
Prolific legal blogger Mark Sableman of Thompson Coburn LLP is worth following! With his Sweepstakes Law blog, he's hit at least three home-runs with recent fascinating articles.
In this one...
... he explains rules for news aggregators. I assume that my summary of the best of the best of legal copyright-related analysis could be an "aggregation". It's relatively easy blog fodder. Someone else does the leg work. All the aggregator has to do is read a week's worth of good stuff, and select the most interesting and most relevant to her audience.
The redeeming feature of aggregation is that the polite aggregator sends her readers valuable eyeballs to the original copyright owner's site though links and attribution. It's only copyright infringement if the aggregator copies so much of the original content that interested visitors don't need to click through to the original.
Mark Sableman does point out some exceptions to the etiquette, especially where Europeans are concerned.
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PS. Mark Sableman addresses something like cookies on steroids with an account of an outrageous case where the cell phones of women who entered a health clinic (for any reason) were bombarded for up to 30 days thereafter with unsolicited and "mobile" advertisements for "abortion alternatives".
And we all thought that pregnant ladies had the right to be protected from stress!
All the best,