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

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