The Internet is a wonderful resource for information, sales, and social networking. Unfortunately, like most technology, the Internet is sometimes used for theft or malicious intent. Privacy theft, malware, and digital copyright violation are examples. Information found on the Internet is often wrongly assumed to be free and available for public use and reproduction.
Homepreneurs has personally experienced copyright violation. In recent postings, we noted that copyright content from this blog was used by another blogger without permission. Homepreneurs completed and filed a DMCA takedown form and submitted it to the offending blog host. We won and the offending blog was shut down by its ISP.
The rules covering intellectual property – notably digital – are unique and evolving. Copyright is granted the moment a piece of work is written, recorded or created. Unlike patents and trademarks, copyrights do not require formal application and complex forms. Please reference StopFakes.gov and Copyright.gov for additional information on copyrights.
When someone posts their own work on the Internet – via blog, website, YouTube, Flickr, social media, et al. – it has an automatic copyright. Copyright law prohibits re-use of original content without permission from the author or creator. Author credit or attribution is insufficient and leaves the secondary user vulnerable to infringement lawsuits, especially if the copyrighted content is used to drive traffic or for other commercial reasons.
Some authors or creators encourage re-use of their content for various reasons, a concept known as Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that allows content creators to share their creative works with specific conditions – aka a Creative Commons license.
The public can search the Creative Commons website with keywords and find images, videos, blog content, and more for legal use, provided the license terms are followed. In addition to Creative Commons, one can find images and other works from licensed clearinghouse sites such as iCopyright, Corbis, GettyImages, and Copyright.com. Each of these clearinghouse sites requires a fee for re-using the work desired.
The Bottom Line
As an author, photographer or creator, you are covered by copyright laws the instant you publish your work. No one can re-use or re-print your work – legally – without permission. If you intend to re-use anothers work – especially for commercial purposes – it is wise to get permission from the original author. Failure to get approval risks significant financial fines and penalties. When in doubt, simply contact the author – creator and ask.
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.
Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed. Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions. Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.
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