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Copyright and use of other's website information

There has always been speculation about what is okay to use on a blog or website and what is considered to be 'stealing'. If in doubt, consider the copyright laws. They may be hard to enforce on the internet, however, it is good policy to obey them. You wouldn't want to get into legal trouble or risk your site because you stole information. And, you certainly wouldn't want someone stealing your ideas to use on their site.

What Is Copyright

According to the US Copyright office, copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.

Just like it was in high school, plagiarism is the the act of stealing and passing off the ideas, words, or other intellectual property produced by another as one's own.

According to ("The Copyright Web site"

"The Internet has been characterized as the largest threat to copyright since its inception. The Internet is awash in information, a lot of it with varying degrees of copyright protection. Copyrighted works on the Net include new s stories, software, novels, screenplays, graphics, pictures, Usenet messages and even email. In fact, the frightening reality is that almost everything on the Net is protected by copyright law. That can pose problems for the hapless surfer."

The two primary methods of protection are technical countermeasures and legal protection. Technical countermeasures include strategies such as digital watermarking and spiders that search the Internet for copies of your pages or graphics.Copyright is the easiest and most popular form of protection .

Ownership to be subject to copyright

If you created everything on the site, you can be reasonably comfortable in your ownership.

  • Text
  • Graphics
  • Script
  • Data
  • Code

For every item on your website, you need to have created it on your behalf, or have some mechanism to transfer the ownership to you. Otherwise, you need to get a license to use it.

Check the license agreement on anything that you use but did not create. It may restrict your use of the product.

It is recommended to use a copyright notice on your website.

The copyright notice consists of at least elements that include the copyright symbol and/or the term "Copyright", the year of copyright, and the name of the copyright holder. The term "Copyright" is technically not required in the copyright notice, but it may be used in lieu of the © Copyright Symbol in the U.S. However, the © Copyright Symbol is generally the standard identifier of a Copyright Notice, and is required in many foreign countries in order for copyright protection to attach.

Register your copyright with the Copyright Office. The Copyright Act affords you protection just for creating your work and reducing it to a tangible form. You must register your website in order to sue anybody else for infringement. Registration makes the difference between getting nothing and getting something for an infringement.

FYI- if you use a link on your site, it is considered an address or 'fact' and therefore, a link is not copyrightable .

Public Access

Putting yourself on the Web, implies permission to others to link to your Web page, and everyone else on the Web is deemed to have given you implied permission to link to their Web pages. Linking to a site may be something most webauthors want.

As a reminder, things that are protected on the interent include;

  • link lists
  • original text
  • graphics
  • audio
  • video
  • html
When creating a Web page, consider the following;

When linking to other Websites do so only after you read and agree to the site's link requirements.

Do not;
Put the contents of another website on your Web page
Copy and paste information together from various Internet sources to create "your own" document.
Copy and paste logos, icons, and other graphics from other web sites to your web page without permission.

You CAN quote or paraphrase , if you give credit to the original source and the location of the source.

Tips for the Internet

  • Always credit the source of your information
  • Find out if there is information on how to use the work. If explicit guidelines exist, follow them.
  • Whenever feasible, ask the owner of the copyright for permission. Keep a copy of your request for permission and the permission received.