Copyright Law: 12 Dos and Don’ts

By Daniel Scocco

As the blogging phenomenon expands, copyright concerns become quite important. Technology makes it really easy to copy, modify and share information, whether we talk about text, images, audio or video. The problem is that the vast majority of people do not have a clear understanding of the Copyright Law, which might result in illegal and costly mistakes. Below you will find 12 Do’s and Dont’s that will clarify what you can and what you can not do as an online publisher:

DOS

1. Do use material under public domain: you are free to use any work that is in public domain. This includes federal government documents, materials produced before 1923 and materials produced before 1977 without a copyright notice.

2. Do quote something you find interesting: the Copyright Act defines that short quotations for the purpose of criticism, commentary or news reporting are considered “fair use”. Notice that the quote should involve only a small portion of the work, and it should not replicate the “heart” of the material.

3. Do use facts and ideas: Copyright Law protects the expression of facts and ideas. That is the form, combination and structure of documents and not the facts themselves. You are free to use facts and ideas reported on articles or websites.

4. Do use other materials that are not subject to copyright: apart from facts and ideas there are many other classes of materials that can not be protected under the Copyright Law. Those materials include names, familiar symbols, listings of ingredients or contents, short phrases, titles, slogans and procedures (notice that some of those materials might be protected by trademark, though).

5. Do use a company name or logo if you are talking about it: trademarks should protect a company from people trying to use its name or logo to deceive customers. If you are criticizing or analyzing a company, however, you can use its name or logo under a “nominative fair use”.

6. Do use a company name on your domain: as mentioned on the previous item you can use a company’s name as long as you are not trying to deceive people that you speak on behalf of this company or that you are related to it in any way. This right applies to domain names. Someone could create a website to complain about a company, say Microsoft, and use a domain name that contains the name of this company, say microsoftsucks.com.

DON’TS

7. Don’t assume that if you credit the author there is no copyright infringement: a lot of people wrongly think that if they credit the author of an article or image they are not violating the copyright law. You can only use copyrighted material if you have explicit permission from the author to do so (or if you make fair use of it, as explained before).

8. Don’t copy material just because it does not show a copyright message: the Copyright Law required a copyright notice to protect works until 1977. In 1978, however, the law changed and abolished the requirement for copyright notice. This means that every published work (be it on paper or digital media) automatically gets copyright protection, whether expressed with a notice or not.

9. Don’t equate Creative Commons with “free for grab”: while Creative Commons licenses are less restrictive then standard copyright they should not be interpreted a “free for grab”. In order to understand what you can or can not do with Creative Commons material you should check what kind of license it is using. Certain licenses will require you to credit the original author, while others will require that you release any modifications of the document under the same license.

10. Don’t copy material just because you are not making a commercial use: while making commercial use of copyrighted material might make it easier for the author to claim damages against you the commercial use per se is not a requirement for copyright infringement. Even if you are not making a commercial use of the material you are still infringing the law if you do not have a permission from the author.

11. Don’t assume that if you remove the copyrighted material you will be out of trouble: a lot of people copy images and text around the Internet thinking that in the worst of the cases they will receive a take down notice from the author and remove the material from the website. The removal of the copyrighted material will not remove the copyright infringement at all. Should the author decide to go after you in count you will be in trouble all the same.

12. Don’t copy material just because you can’t find a copyright holder: the fact that a copyright holder can not be identified does not imply that the material can be freely copied. Similarly if you locate the copyright holder, email him asking permission and receive no answer back you would still be infringing the law if you use the material.

This article was not written by a lawyer and it does not intend to constitute legal advice.




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183 Responses to “Copyright Law: 12 Dos and Don’ts”

  • Andy Beard

    Do seek professional legal advice
    Do state you are not a lawyer if you write anything to do with the law if you are not a lawyer.

    Even people who I regard as public domain experts making 7 figures consult lawyers every step of the way.

  • Daniel

    Andy, you are completely right about the 2 points! I am not a lawyer, but most of those points are pretty straight forward and should help the average blogger.

    Thanks for commenting!

  • Badguy

    the logic behind this madness is permeated with greed.

    what needs to be in place, is forward thinking people
    with the right stuff to make the proper changes.
    so that instead of perpetually driving humans down towards poverty, we can strive for a unity, where greed has no place.

    Then we can colonize space.

    untill then it will continue to fester and swell.

    copyright laws suck as badly as do patent laws.
    everyone diss’s amway, and the pyramid scheme
    calling it a rip off and a scam, well wake up good citizen, you are near the bottom of the pyramid.

  • Roberto Alamos Moreno

    It’s interesting the point that says:

    “Do use a company name on your domain”

    because some years ago everybody knew about mikerowsoft.com, and how the owner (a teen named Mike Row) was attacked by microsoft until he had to reach a deal with them in order to never use his domain name again because it was just too similar to ‘microsoft’.

    Beyound that point, I think the ‘fair use’ figure is a relly good. It allows english wikipedia to be what it is now: an enormous compendium of text and graphical material.

    Unfortunately, other wikipedias (like the spanish one) don’t enjoy the privilege of ‘fair use’ and therefore they can’t put a lot of images on their articles, like the english wikipedia can. They said it’s because spanish speaking countries don’t recognize the figure of ‘fair use’, so they are only able to use pics that are effectively property of the person that upload them, or pics where the owner gave permissions to upload to wikipedia. I understand this but I have a doubt regarding this issue: since wikipedia servers are mainly located in the USA (I know some of them are located in Europe and Japan too), who cares about the lack of the ‘fair use’ figure in spanish speaking countries? Keep those files on the servers located in the US and that’s all.

  • Jan Sifra

    I would definitely add one more point – even if you do not write the blog in English, follow these rules, too. There are so many bloggers in Slovakia (where I am from) who translate the article from english blog, change 3 or 4 sentences and pretend to be blogging kings of the country. This is very common in here – and I was doing the same thing a long time ago as well…

  • Jason

    This list isn’t useful, because it isn’t very accurate (or as you put it “straight forward”).

    For example, your first point is plain wrong. Material produced before 1923 could still be protected by copyright today. If I create a work in 1922 and don’t publish it until 1967, copyright on that work would not expire until 2014. If I publish it in 1978, the copyright would not expire until at least 2048.

    You have also titled this “Copyright Law: Do’s and Don’ts”, but then your point 5 and 6 deal with trademark law. Trademark is quite different from copyright.

    As a lawyer, I would also disagree with the the previous poster’s comments about always seeking legal advice before re-using material. We don’t want to live in a world in which everything requires legal vetting and approval. Having said that, I would recommend that if you are going to be re-using material, assume that it is copyright protected (unless you know it’s not) and inform yourself from a reputable source as to what your rights and obligations are. A list of do’s and don’ts written by someone who doesn’t really know what he is talking about doesn’t qualify. Harsh perhaps, but true.

  • Bes Z

    Thanks for this article Daniel. It really helps when dealing with information that is so easily available all over the web.

    If you do not mind I am going to comment on each point please:

    1 : This is where most of the people get confused, I think. People think that books are copyrighted, but blogs and online diaries are not. Public Domain for anything since 1977, as you mentioned, is something that specifically says that the content falls under public domain.

    2 : Good point. News reporters quote things all the time, and people can too. Online, unless a site specifically says not to quote anything, you can. Thus, it is usually a good habit to read disclosures on sites to find out more.

    3 : Hmmm, interesting point. What if it was a research I did? For example, if I did a survey like the Vizu survey you talked about recently and did not want people to quote the facts in any manner [the numbers and stuff], am I allowed to do that?

    4 : Good point too. An interesting point to this exception, like how you mentioned trademark, could be “Apple.”

    5 : That is good to know. Mentioning straight facts or things you think are facts helps others understand what you are talking about, instead of people assuming “Wow, he/she is again talking about stuff without giving examples.”

    6 : Excellent tip I would say. As long as people are shown clearly that a domain name is not associated with a certain company, they can use it. Of course using domain names negatively to criticize are only usually setup to defame a certain company, but if one wants to criticize, I wonder if having a domain name that goes along with the message helps too.

    7 : Heh, I love this point. This is what the Bitacle and other leechers did recently, using RSS feeds completely, showing ads on their own pages and then saying they credit the authors. Their reasoning? RSS feeds are up for grabs, so they can do whatever they want with it.

    8 : Good point. Every published work is automatically copyrighted. A work is not copyrighted when it explicitly says so, or when it falls under public domain as mentioned in the first point in this list.

    9 : Good point. We need to understand what different licenses mean in detail before using content with such licenses.

    10 : This is one of the biggest misconceptions I see regularly. I have noticed this a lot from people on MySpace who link to many of the pictures on my site. They sometimes refuse to stop hotlinking to my site images saying they are not making any money, and thus they can link to anything they wish “legally.”

    11 : Good point. Once someone considers a damage done, court may not accept “Ok ok, I am sorry I am taking it down” reason. Usually, a warning is give to take down copyrighted material within a certain number of days. After that, someone starts full legal action.

    12 : Good point. Maybe one can include a message somewhere, when using material if they cannot find the copyright holder, that says the following or something similar:

    “This material was used as the original copyright holder could not be contacted and I/We assume this content to be available for public use under public domain. If you are the party who owns the copyright to this material, please let us know and we will gladly comply right away and remove any copyrighted material you may object to.”

    Thanks again Daniel. This also goes into the cheatsheet printout. 🙂

  • Mark

    Thanks for this, with all the barrage of what “not” to do, it seems that there is precious little out there helping people understand what they are allowed “to” do.

    I would love to see additional information about what happens when there are conflicts, such as when a site says “all rights restricted” but posts a list of ingredients, or you want to quote from it.

    I would also love to see a set of “do’s” for simple users. What am I allowed to do when I buy something like a CD. I was told by a lawyer that my wife was not legally allowed to listen to a cd that I purchased

  • Daniel

    Jason, the wording should be materials “published” prior to 1923, that is correct.

    Points 5 and 6 do refer to trademark law, but because sometimes copyright and trademark get mixed together. For instance, a name or a slogan can not be protects under copyright law. If I just mentioned that part people would think that in all the cases it would OK to reproduce names or slogans, but that is not true due to trademark, that is why I mentioned it.

    Thanks for commenting though, the objetive of the article was simply to share the research that I did to myself regarding copyright, as long as it helps people I think its valid.

  • Mr Unstoppable

    Number 6 is not as clear cut. In an ideal world, Trademark law would exist because we recognise that it is useful for Consumers to be able to identify a company and know it is the same one they/others have had good experience with. So the test for trademark infringement is whether consumers are misled.

    However, trademarks are also the subject of considerable investment by companies. And in the US that means trademark law has expanded to cover Dilution of trademarks through tarnishment, blurring or alteration. Though this area of trademark law is not without controversery – a look at the decision in Deere & Co. v. MTD Prods will show you that abusing a trademark is not always permissable.

  • Dan

    Mark: Your wife could listen to the CD if you let her borrow it. You have full possession of the single copy you purchased and can transfer that possession to anyone you choose (through sale or bailment – borrowing) as long as you don’t make more copies.

    If you ripped the CD to mp3s, you couldn’t have the CD in your car while the mp3s were on your wife’s computer. That’s illegal copying which is what COPYright is all about – exclusive rights to copy.

    Bes Z: On your point 12, your big disclaimer has no legal effect except to make it apparent to your site’s visitors you’re likely violating the law. You can’t use copyrighted work without permission, so you’re taking a gamble when you copy something not knowing if it’s protected or not. Assume it is.

  • Johnny2Bad

    One of the major complications of copyright law is that there is no single international law, and much of what you can and can’t do depends on where you live (for the digital world, it also matters where your ISP is based, or where whomever hosts your web site is).

    But, with reference to number 8 ( … This means that every published work (be it on paper or digital media) automatically gets copyright protection, whether expressed with a notice or not. …) you most definitely are referring to US residents (or web hosts, etc) only.

    For the most part, elsewhere in the world, copyright has always been automatic and did not require registration as it did in the US, which is I think the changes in US law you mention actually refers to [IANAL, yadda yadda yadda].

    Having said that the copyright symbol or the full word “copyright” has always been required on protected work. Although failing to properly mark a protected work does not negate copyright protection, it does mitigate damages for infringement.

  • cadmium2

    When you make a post or an essay on a blog/discussion board who owns the copy. To sign up to Huffington Post I think you agree that your writings become the property of the Huffingtonpost. Is that usually the case — in general who has ownership of the words posted on discussion boards?

  • Andy Beard

    I have a comments policy on my blog

    You retail rights to your comments
    I retain rights to publish your comments on that blog or any other
    I do not claim rights to use any comment for marketing purposes without express permission (such as testimonials)
    I retain the right to modify/moderate comments as I see fit

    Plus a hole load of other things – it is very site specific

  • Daniel

    Johnny, yeah on point 8 and most of the other points apply to the US Copyright Law, although most western countries follow very similar standards since there are international conventions like the Berne one. But there is still a big need for international harmonization, I agree 100%.

    cadmiun, regarding discussion boards it depends on the terms of membership that you must agree prior to posting articles. Blogs can adopt the same method as Andy outlined, but I also think that we need some new laws to cover all that innovative media and platforms that are emerging lately!

  • Stephen Glauser

    Good advice, I didn’t know about Rule #2 you listed. Good information to have, thanks.

  • Elentar

    Since no copyright notice must accompany copyrighted material, and no physical proof of ownership is required, what are consumers to use to prove the legality of copyrighted material in their posession?

    The advice that I’ve seen states that you must have paid for the material for it to be legal – or at least recorded a transaction in which it was transferred to you by someone else, who can then be checked for legal ownership. However, that advice assumes that the copyright holder never, ever gave the work away without a record of the gift and that a consumer with legal right never, ever sold the (digital) media without keeping a transaction.

    If either of the two assumptions is false, which it surely must be, than there would seem to be plenty of opportunity for consumers to have a legal right to any given copyrighted material without any way of proving it.

    Now, this does not cover the duplication of copyrighted material, since unless you can prove you are the copyright holder, it is assumed that you do not have the right (except as fair use provides). But merely posessing copyrighted material doesn’t seem to ever be able to be considered a crime.

    One issue I’ve always had with this whole thing: Copyright is inherently about the right to profit from a given work, by restricting duplication rights. Copyright holders speak frequently about ‘lost sales’ to consumers who found the material for free instead. Yet, there exists no proof that those consumers would have paid for the material if they had not found it for free. However, there is another type of transaction that *does* establish proof that the consumer would have paid for the material, but equally translates to ‘lost sales’ for the copyright holder: Used copyrighted material. Books, music, games, artwork, many kinds of copyrighted works are often sold for only slightly below the new cost by retailers, with none of that money going to the copyright holder. Yet, had that used item not been available, there is a very good chance that the consumer would have paid full price for a new copy, as they clearly were willing to buy it in the first place!

    So, how can copyright holders possibly claim that they are losing sales when they continue to disregard *other businesses* profiting from their works? The current copyright climate in the United States is appalling!

  • trat for

    In the end it all comes down to common sense

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for posting this. Maybe someone out there can help – I’ve been trying to find an answer to this questions. Many bloggers “borrow” images from product sites in order to talk about the product. For example, craft bloggers post images of new knitting or sewing patterns from the craft company web sites in order to comment on them. This is not legal, is it? I review patterns and want to show readers a photo of the finished example item that usually accompanies most knitting and sewing patterns. Some of these patterns are in books or magazines, so I can’t link to web pages that might show the finished item. Is it legal for me to whip out my camera, lay the magazine open on the floor, take a picture of the page with the finished item on it, then post that photo to my web site?

  • vincent

    I’m from China,thanks for your great tips 🙂

  • Daniel

    Jennifer, when you copy an image from another site and post it on your website you are violating copyright unless you have permission from the author. Product sites usually do not care if people take their images as long as they are for commenting purpose and there is a reference link. That said if you do not have permission you are still making a copyright infringement.

    Regarding the second question, I also think this would be copyright infringement, because the magazine has the right to exclude the republication of its material even in order media, including on the Internet.

    I agree that the Copyright Law is too strict sometimes, and it somewhat old to apply to new media like blogs, wikis and the Internet in general. As mentioned the law will probably need to get revised to that it does not become a hinder for creativity and innovation.

  • Narly

    Perhaps a 13th?

    DON’T: Assume your copywrite laws apply in other countries.

  • Devonavar

    Do attempt to explore the moral issues at hand rather than blindly assuming the law is correct — which only applies in one country.

    There are good arguments for the unauthorized use of orphaned works, for example

  • Bes Z

    Hi Devonavar,

    I think Daniel and the other people, including myself, were trying to talk about the law itself. Since people get into trouble because of the law, we were not talking about the ethics of using or not using copyright material, even though you bring up an excellent point with an interesting example that we all need to consider. The law itself needs to be kept in mind in some countries, specially the US, to make sure one does not get into trouble even if their intentions were innocent/honest.

    Does that make sense? Also, could you please explain a little bit more about using the “orphaned works” please? It sounds very interesting. 🙂

  • Marc

    Thanks for this, it’s a nice, succinct look at this issue and like all bloggers I’m concerned and certainly try to respect people’s copyrights and do the right thing.

    Something I don’t see specifically covered, but I’d be interested in another opinion on:
    I read that if you use an image in direct relation to something you’re writing (for example you are writing about a Nokia phone and you find an image of the phone on the Nokia site to illustrate your post) that this would be considered nominative fair use.

    Does anyone know if this is correct?

    It’s something that pretty much every blogger does at some stage.

  • Genevieve Netz

    This is a good post. I have seen blatant copyright violations in the blog world that just make me shudder. People seem to think that if it’s on the internet, it’s automatically public domain and that’s just totally false. I had a woman take a photo from my blog and post it on hers. When I requested that she take it down, she complained that if she had to ask permission every time she used an image, she’d never get anything done. Well — get a camera and make your own images! That’s how I get mine! Aaaack! I’m starting to rant! Anyway, thanks for your post that will help to educate at least a few.

  • Daniel M. Clark

    Copyright and trademark laws regarding online situations are a very gray area right now because it’s been so few years since the explosion of the internet and especially the explosion of blogs (which many would like to see fall under the same regulations as the Press). The Do’s and Don’t’s are a good guideline, but there is very, very little black and white.

    @Marc, yes, thumbnails for the purpose of commentary are generally under nominative fair use. Full size images generally do not – again, a very gray area.

    @Badguy, the only people that think that copyright and trademark laws should be abolished are those that don’t try to make a living and pay the bills with their creativity and hard work. The laws may not be perfect, but they are necessary to ensure that artists and creators get the recognition and compensation they deserve. Anyone that doesn’t want those protections are free to release into the Public Domain. Win-win for everyone.

    @Daniel, thanks for the list.

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  • ruud

    Good tips.

  • alper aydin

    thanks you

  • burak lee

    whats ???

  • mstgngr

    thanx 🙂

    http://www.wm-tr.com
    http://www.c6c.org
    http://www.izmirsozluk.com

  • tommy grub

    thanx
    🙂

    http://www.15minutesmagazine.net

  • Jason

    A couple things:

    – the sources of where this information was found might be helpful.

    – dont’s should be don’ts.

  • Daniel

    Jason, check the U.S. Copyright Law website, all the info is there.

    http://www.copyright.gov/

  • daniel

    nice tips thanks 🙂

  • kourtnry

    Thanks you helped me alot..

    * stupid homework *

  • digitalnomad

    Copyright is pretty simple and straight forward. Everyone makes it more complicated and mysterious than is necessary.

    Just know fair use terms and you are OK. Also, like anything being legalistic, it has to do with money. If you are not profiting form the use…then you are probably OK.

  • dizin

    Good for me 🙂

  • ronald

    tnx man!!! I’m new here…

    Everyone must read this post.

  • laptop battery shop

    Thank u very much

  • Acura

    Thanks for your time and energy. It’s refreshing to see somone who is thoroughly excited.
    Once again…thanks.

  • Frederrick Abrugart

    Good advice. Some of the legal aspect is important to take note of. Copyright law is indeed something not to mess around with.

  • Aneesh

    I use the creative commons licence on my blog.Thanks for the awesome article man…

  • jakes

    how to easily find the copyrighted material?…nice stuff in this area..

  • devray

    Good info, all bloggers must read it. I’ll refer this to my blogger friend 🙂

  • best bodybuilding supplements

    That was a very excellent article and answered all my questions.

  • Top Webhost

    With the millions of blogs spewing out in the Internet every hour, it is nearly impossible to go after everyone who copies a text or image. The best thing we can do is to acknowledge the original source or the secondary source where the material was taken out either in toto or partly. Acknowledge of the original author should be enough. If an author would go after a person who copies his work, he will be spending doing this thing all his life and he would regret that he should be doing something else more important rather than pursuing the copycats.

  • VGP-BPS2

    It’s something that pretty much every blogger does at some stage.

  • Helen Hill

    I am trying to write a book about our church’s beginnings. But everywhere I turn someone says I need permission. I need images
    depicting the 1940’s but can I simply use web images of hand pumps, old buildings, etc. without permission? Also, when I tell of the influence of ancestors of the members, who do I see to get permission to use their names and facts? This is not a book for profit, but it is really becoming a confusing venture. Any tips are appreciated. Helen

  • Rose

    Are original articles by bloggers protected by copyright? My main site houses legal papers on cases we follow, however on the blog part I do articles, show a copyright symbol by my name and then allow discussions of the articles. Lately large portions like pages at a time appear on some celebrity site called TMZ, as well as pages and pages of the posters comments verbatim with no link and no change in the verbage of my articles or the posters changed. Do my posters or I have copyright protection? It is NOT TMZ doing this but posters on TMZ forums.

    Thanks,

    Rose

  • anney

    Good information! Thanks for this.

  • papatek

    Hey! thanks for such a wonderful post, it was sure useful.

  • DJYano

    Wow! thanks for the reminder and warning to my blog, i didn’t know that till i read this post, thanks for the post, now i understand, and im sorry to copy your post, i just want to share it with people on my blog.

  • Website Promotion Lincolnshire

    You will be surprised how many clients think that it is fine to copy information from the internet and take pictures from Google images. It is very important that you are fully aware of the laws of copyright.

  • Where to copyright

    The funny thing is that in most countries in the bureaucratic EU, they do not have a copyright office!

    Go figure, the generally less bureaucratic USA has a copyright office, but the UK and most of Europe does not!

  • Mike

    Hi guys,

    I’m looking for some advice and would be grateful for any help.

    Back in 1999, I purchased an online marketing system known the “Cookie Cutter” marketing system created in America by a guy named Gary White.

    Needless to say the system didn’t last very long and Gary White closed down his business and his website.

    I want to resurrect and tweak the system and promote it online via my own website and my own business name.

    As Gary White no longer promotes this system and it does not exist on the Internet, am I infringing any copyright laws?

    Thanks for any help.
    Mike

  • webhosting

    @ Mike,

    As far is I know copywrites least at least 10 years before they exeed, but if everything is country based. Maybe he didn’t had any copywrites at all. In belgium by example is everything you make automaticly copywrited. Sow have a deep look in de USA law

    grtz

  • Rent your Domains

    Very useful information. I used to pick news stories from news sites and post them on my blog for content, but now I will need to remove them before someone approaches me.

    Thanks.

  • Susan

    I have a question. I am relatively new at this. I want to start a cooking blog and include a recipe archieve. How are recipes covered by copy right. If I use recipes from books or online is that stealing. Can I just mention where it came from or can I change the recipe slightly and consider it mine.

    If I use 3rd party content (plr recipes) what reassurance do I have that it is not someone elses.

    I appreciate an answer as I don’t want to “steal” someone else’s hard work.
    thanks
    Susan

  • Рассылка сигналов форекс

    very nice

  • SEO Genius

    Very interesting article something i feel that many webmasters do not read extensively which they should.

  • czy

    Great Post!

    Thanks for the ideas that you shared with us..It could help us a lot.
    Keep on Posting interesting topics.

    God bless uu!

  • Bunnybaby

    Dear Mr Socco,

    This is also a very useful article that I’d like to share in my blog. Do you mind if I quoted some of the points – translated into Malay language? I promise that I won’t claim the article as mine.

  • Bunnybaby

    Ooops, I’m terribly sorry I spelt your name wrongly.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Bunnybaby, as you saw in the article itself, using quotes and giving credit to the author is protected by the law :). You just can’t copy 100% of it.

  • Bunnybaby

    Okay, I put a hyperlink to this article, instead of quoting the contents. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  • puneet

    I have a question, how do all the above make sense if I copy the content from a blog and print them into a magazine stating that these are extracts from a blog.

    Also I would like to print the comments coming from people over a subject of the blog, how does that happen?

    Your answers would be appreciated !!!

  • Power for Laptop

    Wow! Thanks for this article Daniel. It really helps when dealing with information that is so easily available all over the web.

  • deambox 500c

    This is also a very useful article that I’d like to share in my blog. I used to pick news stories from news sites and post them on my blog for content, but now I will need to remove them before someone approaches me.

  • Simon

    Thanks for the information. What is missing are lawyers that blog. Does anyone know some references to this kind of information? If we want people to take notice of these rules we need sources of information in an easy to understand language (like this article). I do like to seek legal advice but I don’t want to pay in order to make sure that my blogpost is acceptable. Maybe we need some kind of “public domain” lawyers office?

  • Glenn

    Thanks Daniel. This was very helpful. My question – which you sorta answered, but I am wanting more specifics if possible – regards images. I read a lot of blogs where the author talks about celebrities or athletes or what-have-you, and wonder where they’ve obtained their photos of the person being written about. For example, a Congressman being exposed as having solicited sex from a prostitute and it’s big news. Do most bloggers just steal a photo of said guy from a newspaper. (And how do they get away with it?) I have a hard time believing that all these bloggers have accounts with AP or Getty Images or something.
    And what about videos? Can you just “take” a video you find on YouTube or Google without repurcussions?

  • stranton

    I put the site I speak of and wanted to question is that really legal because it says it is not microsoft and yet has that name MicrosoftVideos.com ??? That is legal> Yet if you look to the news article on freedom of speech at zolaenterprises.com it explains then to report fraud on a company even with proof is still a lawsuit cuz if your sued you have to go to court hearings in another state they sue you from no matter where you live or you lost..
    This means then if you had money to fight and go out of state it is ok and then legal to buy your way out in the usa?
    sounds off too since there was a site that used the name face-book and they lost for using the site name alone when facebook sued them. Why then did they lose if they were not trying to be them and was 2 different words seperate

  • Home Tuition

    nice articles, really never think of copyright laws 😀

  • Linda

    Well, I think if you can’t be orginal what’s the point in blogging!

    I’m a reporter and I have started a news site blog for my home town which includes local news plus general lifestyle features. I’ve done a quick search of some of my articles titles and I’ve found that several of my lifestyle features have been added to websites in the USA.

    I’m based in the UK and I think they probably think it’s ok to nick them as they are only subject to UK copyright law.

    If they would have asked I would have been happy to let them be used for free for a backlink.

    Cheeky beggars.

    I’ve served them all with copyright infringement notices.

  • Andrew

    Thank you very much for the advice, I will keep it in mind.

  • Bang Kritikus

    Yes, I agree by using facts and ideas. Great article !! Thanks

  • Bettie

    WOW! Did I learn something from everyone! Thanks

    I heard the answers I needed to hear; in other words – my questions were answered, and I am more knowledgeable than before. Thanks again everybody!

  • iMhatimi

    Good advice, I didn’t know about Rule #2 you listed. Good information to have, thanks.

  • Jehzeel Laurente

    great tips you got here! I’m gonna bookmark this page 😀

  • Bang Kritikus

    How about using an image by add rel image source ???

  • cmdweb

    Understand the differences in copyright law around the world, e.g. between the US and UK.
    Also, don’t mistake copyleft as a free for all. Copyleft is just copyright with conditions.

  • firma parki

    Thanks for you

  • Candy Power

    Thanks for your sharing. Good helps for newers.

  • 7battery

    So useful information. I’ll bookmark it. Thanks

  • prefabrik

    thanks you

  • fefos

    Thanks for this article Daniel. It really helps when dealing with information that is so easily available all over the web

  • CopyrightSearch.org

    This is a good article on dos and dont’s about copyrights on the internet. If there is a need to find a copyright holder please be aware that sites like copyrightsearch.org have a growing database of registered copyright records that can be searched at will.

  • Tatil

    That’s a mistake. Shoemoney has a lot of influence (especially among the seo / sem crowd), and he’s been a long time friend of the site. Instead of banning him, they should hire him to try and find other holes in the service.

  • Daily Good Tips

    No plagiarism

  • r4i-dstti-itouch

    good info, Thanks,

  • acekard 2i

    Thanks for your sharing this information, good

  • korean fashion clothing wholesale

    Yes, copyright law is more and more important for commerce online!
    So if you want to do more bussiness, pls take care!

  • Bill Edwards

    I am interested in starting a blog that involves creative writing on my part. Eventually, if the blog is well-received, I would like to consider consolidating the material for a book. Can I protect my blog copy with a copyright, so it cannot be reproduced legally by someone else? If I can do this, then are there particular blog sites that allow bloggers to retain copyright and others that do not? I am thinking about blogspot.com because it is easy.

    Thank you.

  • La tang

    Thank you very much, I will keep it in mind.

  • Graphic-Designer

    Someone needs to write up a bit more about the creative commons license as it seems to be increasingly popular to use. I’ve used a few images on my blog and I think i’m doing the right thing… I’d love to be 100% sure.

  • shmartaf

    Can I copy part of any article in my web site and set up a link to original web site?

  • Hootoo

    I sure learned a lot from your post, but it seems that copyrighted materials are everywhere.

  • Crystal

    This is a helpful article. Does anyone know the rules regarding using images of magazine covers on websites? Thanks in advance for any help!

  • jailhousews

    @ Jason March 14th 2007

    Maybe this will never be read by you but I found this article to be accurate and well-written.

    About the first point being wrong? Producing a work may not be the same as releasing/publishing it, but I think it’s clear that is what was meant. Confusing two very similar terms doesn’t make the whole article bad.

    What’s wrong with touching on trademark law? It is related to copyright, so therefore relevant and worth mentioning as pertaining to company logos and names. The author never claimed that the two are the same.

    I don’t think anyone reading this is quite dumb enough to take this as THE authoritative source on copyright. The author even wrote at the bottom “This article was not written by a lawyer and it does not intend to constitute legal advice.” I think it is intended to just be a general guideline for rule of thumb use; that way those of us who don’t practice law for a living can understand enough to stay out of trouble.

  • Nell

    Understand the differences in copyright law around the world, e.g. between the US and UK.
    Also, don’t mistake copyleft as a free for all. Copyleft is just copyright with conditions.

  • Hesham @ FamousBloggers

    Very nice stuff, I am looking for some information regarding the blog comments copyrights issue as I really really don’t get it!

  • Dinesh

    Thanks for providing great tips.

    Have a quick question regarding copyright law.

    Can I use a product image and description from product company website in my blog ?
    Example – Can I use Nokia E72 model images and product description and specification from Nokia.com in my website ?

    Thanks in advance

  • Karen

    Maybe this is a stupid question, but if I were to quote fortunes from fortune cookies in my blog, would there be any copyright issue with that? Is it OK for me to just freely quote the entire fortunes…do I need to cite them somehow…contact someone? Any idea?

  • Copirait

    This is a good post. I have seen blatant copyright violations in the blog world that just make me shudder. People seem to think that if it’s on the internet, it’s automatically public domain and that’s just totally false. I had a woman take a photo from my blog and post it on hers. When I requested that she take it down, she complained that if she had to ask permission every time she used an image, she’d never get anything done. Well — get a camera and make your own images! That’s how I get mine! Aaaack! I’m starting to rant! Anyway, thanks for your post that will help to educate at least a few.

  • Jaysen

    This is a great article on clearing things up, in case people didn’t quite understand. Check this article at The Music Void – copyright has become the centre of the storm. But then, when has it not? http://bit.ly/bT8FKq

  • jim

    Concerning newspaper articles I am building a web site for educational purposes. There are news articles I would like to use.The site will be subscription based–for profit.
    Is it legal to post such articles without the consent of the newspaper?
    And..how would I get permission from a large paper like the New York Times?

  • jack

    WOW! Did I learn something from everyone! Thanks

    I heard the answers I needed to hear; in other words – my questions were answered, and I am more knowledgeable than before. Thanks again everybody!

  • adapter

    Someone needs to write up a bit more about the creative commons license as it seems to be increasingly popular to use. I’ve used a few images on my blog and I think i’m doing the right thing… I’d love to be 100% sure.

  • opirait

    Wow! Thanks for this article Daniel. It really helps when dealing with information that is so easily available all over the web.

  • Sue

    I think that not only the 12 dos and donts about copyright are useful, but all the discussion about copyright matters, written by lawyers and others have turned this post into an invaluable source for bloggers and creative artists. Thanks everybody!

  • wildcat

    I am miffed….yet another excuse to delay getting things done i.e: my blogs.

    I can’t even use Google images without a great big hassle. So I have to take down all of my pictures because I may have violated someone’s copyright. CraP!!!!!

    I am just getting started and my plans are shot to hell—again!

  • wildcat

    Why is it on Google images that there are duplicate images by different authors? How do you know which one is the original?

    I have tried to get my images another way, i.e royalty free images or Creative Commons or even paid images, and I found that none of them suited my theme…….Taking my own pictures wouldn’t work either because I need cartoon images, and pictures of objects I don’t have access to.

  • 16&innocent

    Hi
    I have some ideas to make some story and would like to use a blog to write them as I go along so others can read and comment but I am unsure if someone will steal my ideas for there own and I’m unsure how copy right if any one can help? I know some kind of copy right, need to pay .But unsure if it worth it plus as well as story/ novels I would like to post illurstrated images. Doesn’t matter if none can help . But great point, I got the page book marked.
    Thanks

  • kevinxiao

    I have some ideas to make some story and would like to use a blog to write them as I go along so others can read and comment but I am unsure if someone will steal my ideas for there own

    yes, copyright is very important

  • BigfootUK

    It sounds like to me you can’t repeat anything that has been posted anywhere just incase you get sued. So unless you are creating something brand new you will unboubtably get sued.
    So who has copyright over the English language can they sue me for printing these words on the internet, or will your site get sued.
    Can i claim copyright over the content i am adding to your site now or do you now own this?
    What about RSS feeds are we not breaking copyright laws buy using a feed reader?
    the whole copyright this is just insane and I obviously just dont ‘get it’

    sorry rant over

    • Ron

      Hi Jason,

      I have been wondering if the Copyright Crackdown is happening at this time as a prelude to the upcoming election.
      These rules seem to be tighter since the president got elected in Nov 2008.

      How do we know that this is not a response to the use of the internet to spread the truth about the agenda of the Federal Government to “Fundamentally Transform America” (For all I know, that phrase may be copyrighted.)

      What I am getting at, will it be illegal and punishable to cut and paste the “13 Rules For Radicals” from Saul Alinsky’s
      book by the same name? Someone in the democrat party may not like it when you help to expose the agenda.

      Pictures that appear in a newspaper or News Website can not be
      called private domain… The mere publishing of them makes them pubic content.

      What ever happened to Freedom Of Speech?

      If the Copyright laws ONLY exempt Government criticism from Freedom Of Speech restrictions, then the rules that apply to pornography being a Free Speech issue should also be restricted…

    • Ron

      Hi BigfootUK

      I have been wondering if the Copyright Crackdown is happening at this time as a prelude to the upcoming election.
      These rules seem to be tighter since the president got elected in Nov 2008.

      How do we know that this is not a response to the use of the internet to spread the truth about the agenda of the Federal Government to “Fundamentally Transform America” (For all I know, that phrase may be copyrighted.)

      What I am getting at, will it be illegal and punishable to cut and paste the “13 Rules For Radicals” from Saul Alinsky’s
      book by the same name? Someone in the democrat party may not like it when you help to expose the agenda.

      Pictures that appear in a newspaper or News Website can not be
      called private domain… The mere publishing of them makes them pubic content.

      What ever happened to Freedom Of Speech?
      Is this only an issue in the United States?
      I recently heard that some company has been buying the Copyright to newspaper images and is now chasing those
      who re-use these images as if they were the original photographer.
      Could this be some rich propagandist with an agenda?

      If the Copyright laws ONLY exempt Government criticism from Freedom Of Speech restrictions, then the rules that apply to pornography being a Free Speech issue should also be restricted…

  • medyum

    Yes, I agree with this. A lot of my competitors stolen my content before it was crawled by Google. The most times they were crawled first, so Google thought always I was the one with duplicat content, sometimes it is so annoying me.

  • Orcus

    Actually, no. Copyright laws should be abolished. They are anti-competitive in nature (try making a show with a similar premise to Star Gate and watch how quickly you get shut down) and do more harm then good.
    Fact of the matter is, with globalisation a very real fact, and with populations spiking, a global financial recession, and poverty in third world countries worse then ever, with the all-mighty American government policing the world and spending more money on military then it ever has before, there is no longer a need for money. For capitalism.
    The way the world functions would not change if we removed money. Period. Except EVERYONE would be able to work, would have a job, except those who physically cant.
    Theft, murder, these crimes would significantly be reduced in number because a large amount of them are driven by material gain.

Comments are closed.