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Can I cut and paste a purchased CE article to share with my co-workers?

Wednesday February 27, 2013
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

If I purchase the unlimited continuing education units for a year and would like to share with my co-workers, can I cut and paste the article and send it to my co-workers if I document where I found the article?

Lee



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Lee,

Anytime you share a document that is copyrighted with another, the appropriate citation should be shared with the article (e.g., author name, date of publication, where published). And, as you know, there is little control over articles that are on the Web, and the sharing goes on on a regular basis among individuals, different groups and blogs.

Having said that, it is important to note that often articles for CE sponsors are developed specifically by authors for a particular CE group. The authors are paid for the article, but most often the CE sponsoring organization holds the copyright.

The problem you may face in your question is the fact that the article is part of a "package" of CEUs for which you paid. If you share it with others, the sponsor of the CE article may not be happy that it is not receiving money for the CE from those with whom you shared the article.

You might want to consider handling the sharing in one of two ways. The first would be to tell your colleagues about the article, giving them its name and author and telling them where they can find it. Or, you could contact the CE sponsor and get permission to send the article to those who apparently are not signed up for the CE courses this sponsor is offering.

It also may be that the sponsor would not be upset about you sharing the article because your colleagues will not get any CE credit for the article unless they sign up for that option or the "unlimited option" and pay to receive CE credit.

However you decide to handle this, do be sure and give credit to the CE group in which the article appeared.

Cordially,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.