The most recent posts I can find on this subject date from 2015 and earlier. Does anyone know the authoritative up-to-date advice on whether that which is posted to the EL & U site constitutes "fair use"? What is the advice from SE on this matter?

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    @Mari-LouA Fine, as far as it goes, but that discussion is now six years old. I feel we need to be given some level of assurance here, if we are to continue quoting sources such as OED. – WS2 Jul 2 '20 at 17:09
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    "We've" been quoting from OED since 2011, what's changed since then? Do you know of something? – Mari-Lou A Jul 2 '20 at 17:11
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    @Mari-LouA No. Nothing has happened. But I'm doing a review of all my posts, and tidying up loose ends (It is the Lockdown remember). Ideally I would like to delete any unnecessarily superfluous content. But when one deletes, it is still available, Until I can get some more assurance from SE, the least I intend is to "stop digging" by posting more OED material. At the end of the day this is only a hobby. – WS2 Jul 2 '20 at 17:47
  • @Mari-LouA After having deleted what might be considered superfluous content from the OED examples, I intend to make a formal request that those deletions be deleted from the edited record, so that the only OED content which remains will be that which is demonstrably appropriate to the discussion. Do you think this is a good way to proceed? – WS2 Jul 3 '20 at 12:05
  • You want the edit history to be redacted / hard deleted (that's the terminology I read on Meta), so users cannot see what was originally submitted. It is possible but I think the reason for hard deleting must be very strong, perhaps issues of security, personal safety. Unless SE staff (I believe moderators do not have this permission) are convinced this is an issue of copyright, and benefits the company I doubt it will be enforced. – Mari-Lou A Jul 4 '20 at 7:08
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    Is there a reason why you now feel your answers citing excerpts from the OED is infringing on the law? What happened? What did you read online? Personally, from a layperson's POV I see absolutely nothing wrong. The answers, if anything, exalts the OED and illustrates what makes it one of the best dictionaries in the world. The excerpts are single entries, not pages, and not everyone has a British or American library card (me), and not everyone can afford the annual subscription fee (me again!). [sad face] I think answers citing the OED gives EL&U greater credibility too. – Mari-Lou A Jul 4 '20 at 7:14
  • @Mari-LouA I am aware of all those points but bless you for enunciating them. With a bit more time on my hands I started to reflect on the matter. And I am convinced that it does more good than harm to the OED to be quoted here. But I am also of the view that SE should not step aside from giving advice on exactly how and how much one should quote. After completing my edits I will bring to their attention the desirability of redacting the superfluous detail. If they choose to do nothing about it, then that is their decision - not mine. – WS2 Jul 4 '20 at 14:46
  • One would have thought that on Meta, of all places, a downvote would have been accompanied by some form of explanation. – WS2 Jul 7 '20 at 8:09
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    Perhaps someone on law.stackexchange.com could help? – ispiro Jul 9 '20 at 22:06
  • @Mari-LouA not everyone has a British or American library card - IANAL. Isn't that, from the copyright holder's perspective, a reason against quoting a book (-so that people will buy the book)? – ispiro Jul 9 '20 at 22:09
  • @ispiro quoting a few lines isn't doing Oxford any harm, besides the OED in 1989 was 20 volumes long, today the complete edition is only available in digital format due to its sheer size. And the purchase price would be so exorbitant that hardly anyone could afford it. Instead, for just around $300, you can have one year's subscription. Actually, this year it's on special offer, a modest $90. public.oed.com/help – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 '20 at 23:55
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    OED is a historical dictionary. Copyright infringement probably still carries the death penalty. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 10 '20 at 14:32
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    @EdwinAshworth It was conceived and founded by a patient at Broadmoor - so a plea of "guilty but insane" would be in the publication's tradition. – WS2 Jul 11 '20 at 20:37
  • Copyright varies by jurisdiction and is considered on a case-by-case basis but with broad guidelines. The UK position is "Under fair use rules, it may be possible to use quotations or excerpts, where the work has been made available to the public, (i.e. published). Provided that: The use is deemed acceptable under the terms of fair dealing. That the quoted material is justified, and no more than is necessary is included" The law is further complicated by the jurisdiction in which the extract is published. Reference works are intended to be "referred to". EL&U demands references in answers. – Greybeard Jul 12 '20 at 11:08

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