In some of the posts a small introduction to the original piece was provided, and a brief mention was made of where the article originally came from: something like, “source: guardian”, or “this came from the BBC website”. Sometimes (although not always) a link was provided to the original piece. Then the article was quoted—usually in its entirety.
Such use is in clear breach of the Copyright Act, and exceeds the guidelines to fair dealing which have been established by the Society of Authors and the Publishers’ Association (you can find a summary of that information here, and read my piece about it here).
“You may not copy, reproduce, republish, disassemble, decompile, reverse engineer, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use bbc.co.uk content in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use.”Some of the writers who posted the work considered what they had done to be “personal use”, and therefore allowable. This is not the case: allowing work to be put to personal use does not allow cut-and-paste copying onto websites, message-boards, or anywhere else that it can be read by anyone who happens along.
A couple of people insisted that as no money was made by the writer who copied the work, the use was “non-commercial” and therefore allowable. This is argument is clearly fallacious: the “personal use” condition has already been breached, and fulfilling the conditions of one condition will not overrule breaching another.
My very favourite piece of abstract reasoning, though, was this:
“The BBC have admitted to me (in relation to something else) that they have no control over what people do with [the work] once it is posted up on their site.”While the BBC might have admitted that it can't control all use of its work, that’s a pretty poor excuse to make. You might just as well say that it's fine to steal little things from shops because the Police have admitted that they can't control all petty crime.