Attorneys are going to focus on site owners with deep pockets. The larger you are, the bigger the target you become. While small sites are probably getting Halt and Desist letters, larger site owners are likely the ones getting the bills for usage of images mentioned in the articles.
I am thinking of one website specifically and the owner runs a non profit org for it. I was told when guest blogging that there were absolutely no restrictions and I would be able to copy and share anything as non profit orgs were supposedly protected from those suits.
If the forum is located in the US, it looks like you were misinformed or the forum owner was misinformed. bogart provided a link to the US copyright law fair use exceptions. US non-profits are not protected from copyright laws. Non-profit organizations are not necessarily charities and things like that. My homeowners' association is a non-profit organization, as are a lot of political organizations, trust funds, fraternal groups, etc.
Here is the entire US copyright law. I don't see anything that exempts non-profit organizations.
Whether or not a non-profit is exempt from copyright laws may depend upon which country they are located in. If they are located outside of the US, the legal protections could be different.
Got it, thanks. The question though is what this looks like in practice. Are non profits less targeted as it is easier for them to justify the fair use doctrine?
Historically, the fair use doctrine has entitled those with a legitimate purpose to reproduce portions of copyrighted works without being subject to copyright infringement action.The fair use doctrine has been widely used by non-profit organizations especially to protect their use of of copyright protected materials for educational and other purposes. Although the law is generally more generous concerning fair use with non-profit organizations, this does not grant free license for wholesale copying. With the increased presence of the Internet, this issue has become even more prominent.
Read more: For Profit Vs. Non-Profit Copyright Laws & Fair Use Issues | eHow.com For Profit Vs. Non-Profit Copyright Laws & Fair Use Issues | eHow.com
The important operational word is "portions." A portion with respect to content means "excerpt." That doesn't grant anyone the right to publish a copyrighted article in its entirety.
Non-profits may be getting away with a more liberal interpretation of the law because the generally do not fall into the "deep pockets" category of businesses and they may be using the materials for educational purposes. However, at least in the USA the forum owner that says he is protected from copyright suits is incorrect. If he created a digital copy of a Harry Potter book and made it available to his members, he could easily be sued for copyright infringement.
FYI. It looks like Google is still trying to settle the law suits that resulted from their blatant infringement of copyrights with their Google book scanning project. I don't know what made them think that they were somehow exempt from the law--or that authors and publishers would somehow agree with their plans.
AFP: Google, publishers near settlement in books case
Seems the law is so open for interpretation, public perception is the only compass on those suits.Quote:
Google opened a Google eBookstore in December, a venture that is separate from Google Books, which was launched in 2004 and has digitized over 15 million books from more than 100 countries.