Publication or use of pictures, recipes, articles, or any other material form my Web site, on or off-line without written permission from the author is prohibited. If you would like to use my articles on your Web site or in your publication, contact me for details. Avoid infringing copyright law and its consequences: read the article 7 Online Copyright Myths by Judith Kallos
For some reason, as with many things online, there is this incorrect perception that
anything goes or that the entire online world is “public domain.”
Many are finding out the hard way that when it comes to protecting creative collateral;
copyright is law. And, copyright laws can and are being enforced online.
Possunt quia posse videntur -
(Latin: They can because they think they can.)
No, I am not an attorney. Nor do I play one on T.V. But I can help you avoid potential
problems based on guiding clients for over a decade about the issues involved in
using other’s work. Hopefully, this effort will help you from finding out the hard
way that copyright is alive and well online.
1. “I can right click, save anything online and use it how I wish.”This is a perfect
example of just because you can doesn’t mean you do! Those graphics or files were
created by someone out there. They legally attained the copyright upon that file’s
creation. Without their specific permission to use that file or graphic, you have
no right to just take it and use it as you please. There is no exception to this
rule. Always ask a site owner before you illegally swipe anything off their site
to display on yours.
2. “As long as I note the author’s name, I can use their site’s content on my
site.” Although you are being nice and giving credit where credit is due, you still
need to ask the author’s permission to post their work on your site. The author may
not want their information posted anywhere off their own site or they many not approve
of your site as a venue for their information – that is their choice to make not
yours. Just because you choose to give credit doesn’t give you permission. Always
ask a site owner if you can use their content before you put it on your site.
3. “I can link to graphics on other sites so that they display on my site.”O.K.,
maybe you didn’t actually download the graphic and put it on your server, but if
you are displaying someone’s work on your site without their permission the bottom
line is still the same. And, you are using their server’s resources to display their
files on your site.
4. “I can display pages from other Web sites within frames on my site.” Many site
owners prohibit their site pages from being framed within another site because it
gives the impression that the other site created the information. Many times folks
innocently do this so they don’t have to send site visitors off their site for information
they want to provide. Others do so to precisely give the impression it is content
they created. A better option is to link to the information you like and create a
new window to open when doing so to ensure your site is still available to your site
5. “If I only quote a portion of other site’s content and link to them I do not
need their permission.” Again, it would behoove you to have permission to do so.
Using only portions allows you to possibly give the wrong impression about the author’s
overall content and this can be misleading at best. If you want to quote any written
work in whole or part you need to ask permission to do so.
6. “If I pay someone to create graphics for my Web site, I own the copyright to
those graphics.”Not necessarily. Unless your agreement with the graphic artist explicitly
states that upon your payment all of their rights are then transferred to you in
whole, you most likely only have exclusive license to use those graphics. In addition,
to purchase the full copyright will cost you a much more than simple exclusivity!The
fact is that the moment anything is created whether it be written or drawn, the creator
owns the copyright – that’s the law. Copyright can only be transferred in a written
legally binding agreement signed by the creator of the work stating they are transferring
their rights to you. Saying you own it because you paid for it doesn’t make it legal
7. “E-mail is not copyright protected once it is sent.”E-mail is a written work
that once created is copyright protected by the author. This means you cannot post
publicly an e-mail sent to you privately. You cannot post private e-mails to your
site, to message boards or to your blog without the author’s specific permission
to do so.Just because an e-mail was sent to you as a private communication does not
mean you then own it and can do with it what you like. In addition, e-mail that is
posted to a group of people, on a mailing list or Newsgroup does not make the e-mail
available for reposting, copying, or any other use – not without the express and
written consent of the author.
What’s the bottom line with online copyright?
Courtesy! Don’t assume that you can use, repost or take anything you find online
simply because you can. Be a courteous Netizen and always ask first!
Seek out the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) page and policy statement on
your ISP and hosting provider’s Web sites to handle complaints and reports in regard
to copyright abuse. Take some time to read that information and make yourself aware
of your rights and make sure you do not infringe on others. The main resource for
all the legal mumbo jumbo on online copyright and the DMCA is on the Governments
site @ http://www.copyright.gov.
Again, I am not an attorney nor am I providing legal advice. I hope I’ve informed
you of some of the issues that need to be seriously considered by all who are online
whether they are creating their own or using others creative or written works.
About the Author:
Judith Kallos is an experienced good-humored Technology Muse who has offered WordPress
Consulting and Web Site services for over a decade. Be sure to check out her popular
site 123 More Income so you can learn to make more money online.
One of the most misunderstood issues online has to do with copyright. Both with e-mail
and Web site content copyright issues.