Copyright: How to Quote and Cite Sources

Reprinted and expanded upon with author’s permission from How to Blog Part 11: Copyright and Citations on Blog Your Passion.

There are two issues to cover as part of this ongoing How to Blog series: Copyright and Citation.

Copyright

In “What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content,” I wrote:

Having been the target of copyright thieves, and working with writers, authors, and photographers on copyright protection and laws for over 25 years, I thought I’d talk a little about what to do when someone steals your content.

First, you noticed that I didn’t say “if” someone steals your content. That was on purpose. With the glut of information on the Internet, it’s now a matter of “when” not “if”.

The first step in learning about what you can do when someone steals your content is to know that it will happen, so the more prepared and informed you are, the better your chances of prevention and having a plan in place when they steal.

There are many reasons people take and use content that isn’t their own. The two most common reasons are “I didn’t know any better” and laziness.

The “didn’t know any better” excuse doesn’t work with me. If you went to school in the last few hundred years, you would have learned from elementary school on that copying someone else’s work is not just bad, it can get you punished by being kicked out of school, lose your degree, or even your job.

The Internet is no different than the real world.

Learn how to link and quote from published material to stay safe and on the right side of International Copyright Laws.
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Plagiarism, Copyright, and Fair Use

copyright symbolRule Number One: Ask first, they might say yes.

If it is on the web, it isn’t free.

If it is on the web, it could be free.

Everything on the web was created by someone. It took hard work. It took time, sometimes a lot of time. Hours, days, weeks, months, possibly years.

Everything on the web is copyrighted and someone owns that copyright. It is up to them to decide what those rights are.

They might want to share what they’ve created with the world but only on their space.

They might want to share it for free for use by others and allow it to be used by others as long as credit in the form of links stays with it.

They might want to share only a small bit with a link as credit for use by others. They should tell you how much they will allow to be shared before it is considered plagiarism and copyright infringement. This is called Fair Use. If in doubt, use no more than 10% or 400 words.

They might want to give it away and not care if it is linked, credited, or changed.

It is up to the copyright holder to set the terms of the sharing, copying, and usage, but understand they don’t have to. Always look for their copyright policy, usage license, or Creative Commons license and permissions to verify the rights of the copyright holder. Anything published and shared on the web is owned and controlled with all rights and usages to the copyright holder. Treat it fairly within the rules of Copyright Fair Use.

This applies to written content, pictures, graphics, images, designs, web art, web templates, web designs, video, animation, photographs, audio, podcasts, music, illustrations, artwork, downloadable files, and any other content on the web. It’s all copyright protected. Continue reading