How can I use someone other's article/post on my own website? What is the legal way of doing this? Usually what I do is that I mention the source from where I got that post. Is there any other way? What ways do you follow to prevent yourself from copyright issues? Can I just use their content and not mention their name? Can I use a hidden HTML link of the source?

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    What exactly are you trying to do? The fact you're even asking about attributing via a hidden link(effectively pointless) sounds questionable to say the least.
    – Su'
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 9:36
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    Using other's content is a tricky area of law. It may be worthwhile to research a firm's actions with respect to enforcing their client's copyrights. Righthaven has been aggressively pursing many web sites for "fair use" of copyrighted material. Arstechnica.com has done extensive reporting on this topic ( google.com/…). The search should get you going.
    – Mike Chess
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 13:26

3 Answers 3


Assume that you can't reuse content unless told otherwise.

Unless the page specifically states that the content is licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons licence or similar, or the work is in the public domain, you should assume that content is not licensed for reuse, and not reuse it in any way.

You can find content that is licensed for reuse with Google's Advanced Search. From their page on usage rights:

"The usage rights filter on the Advanced Search page shows you pages that are either labeled with a Creative Commons license or labeled as being in the public domain."

You can also use the Creative Commons search tool to find works that are licensed for reuse.

It's important to respect people's rights on this one; publishing content on the Internet does not transfer any rights to people who can access that content, nor does it put content into the public domain in the legal sense. The copyright automatically belongs to the content's author, be it a person or a company, and they alone can license its reuse.

If you can't see a licence and you want to reuse content, contact the author to ask if it's OK. If they don't reply, assume that you cannot use it. Contacting them does not transfer any rights to you. You need a reply in writing approving reuse.

If you are currently reusing content, and the original author has not provided a licence on the page to do that or otherwise given you permission in writing, you should stop stealing their content. Write your own, hire writers, or use Creative Commons -licensed work instead.

Finally, even if content's licensed for reuse, there may be provisos attached to its reuse. The standard Creative Commons Licence, for example, requires that you attribute the work to its original author in whatever manner they ask you to, often with a simple link, but sometimes with a specific paragraph of text. This text should be visible. It is not OK to hide attribution text with CSS, JavaScript, or any other method.

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    ...the general exception to the above, at least in the US, being that you're allowed to use a reasonable excerpt. You may want to check if that works differently in your particular country. For the most part, though, nobody's going to come after you if you re-post a snippet and link through– visibly –to the original document.
    – Su'
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 9:38
  • @Su: no one can come after you if you quote snippets. That falls under fair use. See templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 15:04
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    @DisgruntledGoat Yes, they can. See the @Mike Chess comment on question. What you mean is that they're (almost certainly) wrong and won't win a legal challenge. That hasn't stopped some companies from trying anyway and getting their result through simple fear. Further, Fair Use(with that name) is largely a United States concept. OP is in India. Other countries have different qualifications, and in some, eg. South Korea, the concept doesn't even really exist.
    – Su'
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 16:38
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    @Nick: This is a well stated answer. Agree that if the content isn't your original work, assume it cannot be used unless granted permission. Many websites will post a copyright notice somewhere on their site. That copyright notice will often spell out the legal terms for reuse or syndication of content from that site.
    – Rob
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 12:33

In addition to Nick's answer, if you're going to reproduce the content from another website, you should use canonical URLs referring to the original source so search engines know which content is the original work.

Also, from an seo point of view, reproducing another website's content will have no SEO value to you as it will be filtered out as duplicate content.


Is it mandatory that you use the entire article or post? You should be fine so long you only reproduce part of the content and invite your visitors to read the rest of it in the original website.

It's not a copyright infringiment if you're just mentioning it, think of it as a quote. To avoid losing visitors to the sites you link, it's important you describe the content with your own words and, of course, produce content of your own.

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