Is it legal to rewrite news reports for commercial use? I've noticed the following information, and I'm wondering whether it applies to other news agencies as well.

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.


Different jurisdictions have different copyright laws. Similarly, I'd imagine that different news agencies will have different rules regarding what you can and can't do with their broadcasts. If you want to rewrite a news report from a specific agency to use in your writing, you should check with them to see if they'll allow it.

Generally speaking, though, the easiest and safest option is to just invent a fictional news agency and write the report yourself. This gives you more creative freedom, avoids any potential copyright issues, and avoid the possibility of the real news agency suing you should they disagree with your fictional portrayal of them.


On the face of it the answer seems to be yes it is legal. But you are required to subscribe. The AP literally provides news for rewriting and reporting.

"As of 2016, news collected by the AP was published and republished by more than 1,300 newspapers and broadcasters.[3] The AP operates 263 news bureaus in 106 countries.[4] It also operates the AP Radio Network, which provides newscasts twice hourly for broadcast and satellite radio and television stations. Many newspapers and broadcasters outside the United States are AP subscribers, paying a fee to use AP material without being contributing members of the cooperative. As part of their cooperative agreement with the AP, most member news organizations grant automatic permission for the AP to distribute their local news reports. The AP employs the "inverted pyramid" formula for writing which enables the news outlets to edit a story to fit its available publication area without losing the story's essentials."

  • Are there any other news agencies that prohibit rewriting like the AP? – Apollyon Dec 29 '19 at 19:10
  • Content and not just the exact wording is covered by U.S. copyright. If you take someone else's writing and just shift the words around, it's still plagiarism. Fair use (a legal concept, not an exact rule) allows you to quote small portions of another's work and give credit. – Literalman Dec 30 '19 at 19:19

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