Legal Question in Business Law in California

I want to start a free blog where I would be basically subscribing to all these different paid subscription newsletters on my niche, and then I would be reporting to my readers on what these particular newsletters are writing about. WOuld I be breaking any laws? Can I get sued by these newsletters?

Asked on 9/01/13, 8:59 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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The obvious danger here is the possibility, and perhaps the likelihood, of copyright infringement. Defending a copyright suit is expensive, even if you win....and although the probability of a lawsuit for any given infringement is quite small, if you do it over and over, yup, sooner or later you'll be sued. I think before you do this, you should educate yourself about the basics of copyright law, which you can do by acquiring and reading one or two of those self-help law paperback books published by firms such as Nolo Press and others. Find one covering copyright law for authors, or perhaps patents, copyrights and trademarks all together, but remember that your proposed activity concerns copyright law. Note that there is a so-called common-law copyright that protects, to some extent at least, all creative written works, whether or not the work is officially copyrighted and so identified with a "circle c" symbol. Also, with on-line material, it's sometimes hard to detect the copyright notice. So, learn what is not infringing at all (because it is your own work), what is "fair use", and what is infringement. Also, be aware that there are some jerks out there that like to threaten suit even when they can't win, just to shake you down for an out-of-court settlement.

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Answered on 9/02/13, 2:53 am

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