Working with Copyright–Protected Materials in a Digital Environment






Case Study 7: Providing Access Via Linking

4/15/04: Permissions packet sent. (In this case we sent a permissions packet before contacting anyone by phone, since it was explicitly stated on the paper's website that they accepted only written requests for permission. A mailing address was provided that would direct the package to the appropriate department.) Marked on calendar to follow up 4/29.

4/29/04: Received letter from manager of public information. If a writer is "theirs" we may link to any article available through (may go back as far as 1985). Any display of articles by their staff people is otherwise strictly prohibited. Other articles they publish are owned by their parent company.

4/29/04: Called the parent company, and their legal department.

4/29/04: E-mailed them, and began a separate file on the parent company and its permissions policies. The writer in question holds copyright to his own writing, and we must seek permission through his office and administrative assistant.

4/29/04: Called writer’s administrative assistant; left voicemail.

4/30/04: Voicemail from administrative assistant. She needs our request in writing via fax (number provided). We need to tell her specifically which reviews we want to display. She will pass our request on to the writer and his assistant.

5/4/04: Called administrative assistant's office and asked (via voicemail) for their mailing address so we could send our permissions packet.

5/4/04: Received mailing address for administrative assistant and mailed package requesting to display material.

5/25/04: Called administrative assistant and left voicemail.

5/27/04: Administrative assistant left a message saying she had forwarded the material to the writer's office and will check on it.

6/2/04: Personal assistant called from the writer's office and left a message (contact information provided).

6/3/04: Returned personal assistant's call and left message with secretary.

6/7/04: Personal assistant called and left a message.

6/8/04: Returned call and left message with secretary.

6/9/04: Personal assistant called and left a message.

6/10/04: Spoke with personal assistant. He said we can link to the writer's reviews on his new website, which will go up in a month or two. I will contact personal assistant in August to start the process.

6/15/04: Could not find articles by other authors for this publication at, so I called the newspaper's manager of rights and permissions again and left a voicemail message.

6/16/04: Called again and left message.

6/16/04: Called the newspaper's librarian. She suggested I call an editor (contact information provided) and also that I contact a staff attorney (contact information provided).

9/10/04: Called editor. Her outgoing voicemail message said to e-mail her instead of calling. Instead I called the attorney and left a voicemail message.

11/19/04: Called the attorney again and left message.

12/9/04: Called the attorney again and left message. Marked calendar to try again next week.

1/28/2005: Called and left message.

1/31/05: Personal assistant to writer called and left voicemail message.

2/4/05: I called back the personal assistant and left voicemail message, made note to call again next week

2/11/05: Called and left message.

2/15/05: The newspaper's attorney called back and said the newspaper does not allow electronic reposting of their articles. If we want to talk about linking we should call an online content manager (contact information provided).

5/6/05: Called online content manager and left a voicemail message.

5/13/05: Called and was told the writer's personal assistant was not available (again!) so I asked who else I could speak to. Receptionist said I should call the office manager.

5/13/05: Called office manager, and he said they were not in charge of the writer's website, the newspaper was (!?!) and that I should call the attorney who is the newspaper's intellectual property specialist. She is the same person I was calling at the newspaper about their other articles (she had since referred me to someone else about linking to their content).

5/13/05: Called the attorney's office and left a voicemail message.

5/13/05: Called online content manager's office and talked to an assistant. She spoke with the general manager of their Internet department. He said we can link to the particular writer's archived reviews at his website. They did not know what I was referring to when I asked about "durable URLs." (A durable URL is an Internet address or link that does not change and will therefore not become inactive at a later time.) I asked about linking to other stories published by this newspaper, and the assistant said that the content is only up on their website in complete form for seven days. We can link to their archives (where the content goes after that), but there is a fee charged for access. (The user is charged a usage fee to read the article.) I'm also not sure how we would link to them. I went to the newspaper's website, and went to their archives, and it's somewhat problematic in that it did not seem possible to isolate any given article (and therefore obtain a unique URL for that particular piece) without first paying the viewing fee. I will show the other CineFiles staff what I mean when we can all look at the website together. (At this time the case study is still in process and unresolved.)