I want to post the first 2 sentences of news articles and have my users comment on them. I would be giving them full credit for the link by posting the name of their website right after the link. Please let me know if this is possible. Thank you.
News articles are copyrighted and therefore if you post the first two sentences of a news article you would be in danger of copyright infringement. There is a doctrine called "fair use" which takes into account the amount of the copyrighted work you are taking, amongst various other factors. If two sentences is not a substantial portion of the news article you may be able to rely on fair use as a defense to copyright infringement . However, the fair use doctrine is a highly fact specific defense to copyright infringement and therefore it is impossible to know whether a judge would determine your use to be a fair use.
There is some case law that suggests that a "link" is not copyrightable and therefore not copyrightable if you just post a link.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Attorney Brooks is right. As a practical matter, why don't you contact the newspaper and ask for their permission? Considering the financial situation of the newspaper business they might allow you to do this with proper attribution as a possible business builder. The worst that could happen is that they might say no.
Then, if all you are trying to do is start a blog-type conversation, then just paraphrase general items of news, such as "In a rare Sunday Night vote, Congress has passed a health care reform law, one of the hallmark campaign promises of President Obama." Now, you are being general enough no one can claim it.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Legal advice can only be given in an office appointment by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction with experience in the area in which your concern lies.
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