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Read up on Fair Use.. It's not the number of words that counts..
Google: "Stanford Copyright & Fair Use" it's; a great starting point.
and let me say that if you are copying news beware the news agencies AP, Reuters, AHN, AFP are all taking a hard line and filing lawsuits on violators.
Best not to get into a semantic argument however about the definition of 'news' per se.
Suffice to say, their news is unique in its linguistic construction, and will pass anty dupe test i.e. Copyscape.
[edited by: tedster at 10:15 pm (utc) on Oct. 12, 2008]
[edit reason] remove specifics [/edit]
Why? Because the question is based on a false assumption or two. Mainly that 1) you can legally copy another website's article provided that you give a link, and 2) that there there is actually some definitive rule about how much you can copy. Neither of these assumption can be safely made.
Generally speaking, you may "quote" another article in part, as part of yours. But the final decision is up to the original author. If the article is on one of the article sites such as ezinearticle then you may use the whole thing, provided you keep the embedded link back intact. However other sites such as say CIA.gov will have you assassinated if you even mention them. Oops! I guess I'm a dead man.
Then there are PLR articles which are intended to be copied again, and again, and again with no link necessary, provided you purchased the right to do so.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. You will probably get sued or go to jail if you follow my advice.