Blog, Personal and Business Websites Copyright Myths

copyright

There are a lot of common misconceptions and misunderstandings about copyright law on websites. Copyright rules apply to blog websites too. So if you are a blogger, you should be aware of your content responsibilities. Whatever you write about ( all your content ) on your blog site, you will be responsible for every article you’ve published online. That even includes for comments in your posts.

You may believe naively everything on the Internet ‘public domain’ and free to use. That is not true all cases. As an example an author’s work, a book for instance, will fall into the public domain once copyright expires, usually after the author’s death, (120 years from date of creation). General rule is the art work is protected for the artist’s lifetime, plus 70 years.
You may read the book online, since published on the Internet may be publicly accessible, but it is not in the public domain. You can not get one of Tolstoy’s book online, copy and paste into your website, publish it and claim it as your work.
If you visit gutenberg.org website, you will be able to read many books online, however their terms of use states also certain rules:

“Our ebooks are free in the United States because their copyright has expired. They may not be free of copyright in other countries. Readers outside of the United States must check the copyright laws of their countries before downloading or redistributing our ebooks. We also have a number of copyrighted titles, for which the copyright holder has given permission for unlimited non-commercial worldwide use.”

So before you copy and paste any article on the web, this would be a book, a picture, an article, or any content whatsoever, always check that website’s terms. Make sure that you are not violating of copyrights. Also copyright rules may vary country to country. To use someone else’s content always look for Creative Commons license.

Some people believe that you can legally copy 10% without it being infringement. I do not know where did they come up with that number, but it is not true. There are very strict rules of fair use of content. Always pay attention that any unauthorised use of copyright work ( online publishing, digitally or print work ) can potentially lead to legal action. Unless a website allows under fair use certain amount quotes or extracts to be used publicly, I would recommend not to do it. If you are going to publish some other websites quotes or extracts, always give reference link on the bottom of the page.
You may also believe to use copy or publish other people’s work if you don’t make any money out of it. That is a wrong myth. You can not copy and publish someone else’s work without permission. If you do so, the copyright owner can sue you for copyright infringement. You are actually violating copyright rules by using the information ( the content). It is not even relavant not to charging for it. You may be allowed to publish quotes, or limited portions of that particular work/content with permission. Without permission you may only publish excerpts, but not the whole article. Always check the website’s terms and conditions, what is their rules. You should check permissions whenever you want to publish any article on your site, this includes, quotes, extracts, even RSS feeds. You should not aggregating RSS feeds without explicit permission, that is also a copyright violation.

copyright

If you live in USA and believing anything without a copyright notice is not protected is absolutely wrong as well. Copyright will apply whether there is a copyright notice or not on the web and printed materials. If you are using some other website’s content always give an attribution or credit on that page to it’s owner with a link.

References:

What is copyright?

“Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally “the right to copy” an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration. The symbol for copyright is ©, and in some jurisdictions may alternatively be written as either (c) or (C).
Copyright laws apply to all materials in the Web. All web documents, ( written text content ) articles, pdf files, images, source code etc. are copyrighted.
Read more here: Wikipedia article about Copyright

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