Max 4 sentences permitted in quote due to Fair Use
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Author:  Pinecam BOD [ Feb 23, 2019 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Max 4 sentences permitted in quote due to Fair Use

The Pinecam Terms of Service (TOS) has these rules:

When quoting copyrighted material (articles, webpages, newspapers, etc.) in any forum:
  • Do not quote the entire content but 4 sentences at most,
  • Always cite the source and include a URL, if applicable,
  • And include at least one or two sentences explaining why you included the quote.

Pinecam Moderators strictly enforce the 4 sentence limitation on quoted material and the source reference requirement in all forums. Continued violations of the TOS rule may result in a member being suspended. Pinecam must consider how much volunteer time is used to warn a member when in violation of these rules and how to best protect the integrity of the Pinecam forums.

Doesn't this 4 sentence limitation make it difficult to get the gist of an idea from a source? Does Pinecam do this to intimidate members? Is the 4 sentence limit arbitrary?

Yes, no, and yes somewhat

Merriam-Webster has a good, short definition of Fair Use:

a legal doctrine that portions of copyrighted materials may be used without permission of the copyright owner provided the use is fair and reasonable, does not substantially impair the value of the materials, and does not curtail the profits reasonably expected by the owner

The United States Copyright Office published an online article titled "More Information on Fair Use". These are their final thoughts on Fair Use:

In addition to the above, other factors may also be considered by a court in weighing a fair use question, depending upon the circumstances. Courts evaluate fair use claims on a case-by-case basis, and the outcome of any given case depends on a fact-specific inquiry. This means that there is no formula to ensure that a predetermined percentage or amount of a work—or specific number of words, lines, pages, copies—may be used without permission.

Not very useful in deciding just how much material may be quoted and be considered Fair Use. A search for the limitations of Fair Use quoting ends up showing the same ambiguity.

In the past, Pinecam volunteers struggled to find a way members could quote copyrighted material and remain within the doctrine of Fair Use. They considered not allowing any direct quoting of copyrighted material, instead requiring members to paraphrase the material. Paraphrasing is difficult to do and does not convey the actual wording or phrase of an idea that a member found compelling and wishes to share.

The Pinecam volunteers, after more research, came up with the 4 sentence limit and the requirement to identify the source, with a link if possible. Four sentences are enough to convey an idea but would usually not be a large percentage of most articles. This is an explicit rule, one that is easy to understand, easy to follow, and removes any chance of arbitrariness when Pinecam volunteers decide if the TOS rules were followed for quoted material.

If you find 4 sentences are not enough for you to entice members to read an article you found interesting, than add a synopsis to your post summarizing what the article goes on to say.

All members are expected to read and abide by the rules in the Pinecam Terms of Service (TOS) and, if in The Study forum, the Pinecam STUDY FORUM Additional Terms Of Service (SToS).

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