Public Editor

When do I need copyright permission?

I’ve had three questions in the past two days about reusing content originally published in The Kansas City Star. The callers all asked the same question: Do I need copyright permission?

These questions have to be answered on a case by case basis. The examples:

1. The author of a self-published book was featured as an interview subject in a Star many years ago. She’d like to quote parts of that story in her book. She did not want to republish the entire story as it appeared in the paper. That does not require permission, as she will be using only a few sentences, and will be identifying where they came from.

2. Someone who runs a website about transportation issues wants to republish in full a story that ran on today’s front page about

possible plans to replace the Broadway Bridge.

For that, he would have to go to McClatchy Reprints to secure copyright permission. However, he’s welcome to publish a link to the version of the story on instead. That does not require permission.

3. A proud mother of a student athlete wants to put a Star staff photo she cut out of the paper into a scrapbook collage documenting his career. That is perfectly fine, as it’s only for personal use.