When Does Sharing Become Copyright Infringement?

How much is too much? That’s the question our friend Brian Stelter is asking today over at the NYT. As times get tougher more media organizations appear to be rethinking whether the aggregation, or excerpting, or “scraping” of large chunks of information is actually in their best interests.

It’s a fine line to be sure. As Stelter points out for many years companies were happy to have online sites spread material and links, but now that the MSM is (finally) getting smart to the online world — and simultaneously, due to the downturn, every hit counts — sharing may no longer be considered caring. So how much is too much? A paragraph? Half an article? One imagines that as the mainstream moves further online the ‘rules of the road’ as Arianna Huffington refers to it in the article will be further hammered out to be far more specific. The trick is that the problem is less about quantity than whether what is being posted, and how, is keeping readers from clicking through. And how does one put a stopgap on that? No doubt it won’t be long before we find out.