How Much Is Too Much


Being a blogger who frequently cites to other people’s material, I would like your opinion on something. How much is too much quoting? For example, I linked to the Tim Graham posting of Rich Noyes’ comment and posted the entire comment, which also happened to be the extent of Tim’s post.

I did so for one key reason: reader convenience.

But, I have seem some blogs that, when quoting a piece, will put the entire piece on their site, whether from the New York Times or another blog.

So, how much is too much?

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Erick Erickson


  • The consensus seems to be that the use of “all or substantially all” of a work is copyright infringement. But I don’t think it would apply to posting comments from other bloggers. Since blogging is still new, I don’t know how copyright law applies.

    As someone with a bi-weekly column on several sites, I can tell you that I consider it copyright violation when someone copies and pastes my entire article, rather than excerpting or linking.

    Most of the time, however, if they include my copyright notice I don’t get upset. I could use the publicity. I wouldn’t try it with newspapers, books or magazines.

    Sometimes when you see the entire article, the poster has gotten permission from the writer to post the entire piece.

  • I hate when someone quotes the whole article. I say link it, and excerpt the relevant parts. The whole article is for the looking so no one can accuse you of being Maureen Dowd. I blog it that way, because I assume not every is interested in a topic as much as I. If they are, they’ll click on the link. That simple.

  • Excerpt whenever possible. Cut things down to the key sentence or paragraph to save readers time and get to the point. Most of what you put on your blog should be your original material, I feel. If you think that something should be read in full, use the ubiquitous suggesting phrase, “read the whole thing” and provide the link. Someone not interested in the entry can have an easier time skipping over it that way too.

By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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