Question: Is it allowed to use articles one finds on the internet and use them for ebooks that one later sell online?
The short answer is no, but there may be a couple of circumstances where it may be possible.
- The articles are public domain
- You have permission
The articles will say on them if they are public domain if they do not, assume they are copyrighted and that you will need permission from the person who wrote it.
If you found an article 70 years after the death of the author, then it probably is OK to use it but you are probably not going to get many articles that old that you want to use. You can find things like this at Gutenberg.org.
Bear in mind that Amazon does not accept public domain works in their KDP program.
Whenever possible contact the writer and ask them if you can use their hard work in your ebook. If you can’t get hold of them assume their work is off-limits. They may ask for some financial compensation.
You can outsource and pay ghost writers for content. Try elance, fiverr or other online freelance websites.
This question was originally posted and answered on Quora. Only my answer is reproduced and may be slightly amended to make sense as a stand alone answer. If you would like to read other answers, please click on the link below.
…according to a media company…
Slashdot has been abuzz with the news that a nature video enthusiast was accused of ‘borrowing’ copyrighted sounds and putting them on his video.
It turns out the media company actually meant the birdsong. The uploader claims that the video was taken in the wilderness and the sounds were all natural birdsong.
Youtube (from reports on Slashdot) then disputed the video and it was claimed that the video was confirmed to have violated some copyright. As a result, adverts would be put on said video and the proceeds would go to the copyright owner.
This can only mean that all birds are thieving varmints and we should round them up and put them in some sort of bird jail lest they trick some other unwary nature lover into recording their song and perpetuating this heinous copyright theft. What other animals are stealing our sounds? Will we have to put whales in an underwater jail? I mean I have heard recorded whale song, this means that anytime a whale communicates to another whale they should be paying some sort of royalty to the whale song recorders. They could pay in fish?
How dare our feathered friends steal our music. It’s copyright theft now but if they get away with it who knows what will happen next? They will be taking our homes and Alfred Hitchcocks’ The Birds will become reality. We cannot let this happen!
In other bird news, a council in Devon (UK) has cut down a copse of trees to stop starlings from settling there. Apparently their droppings are poisonous and rather than respect the right of birds to nestle in trees we should evict them in case some idiot decides to eat their droppings.
The world is going mad.