I tell this over and over and over again until the infringers and thieves understand.
This issue has been going on forever and many people are not aware about copyright or do not really understand the meaning of Copyright. Or do not understand the meaning at all.
According to Encarta Dictionary:
copyright [ kóppi r?t ] – creative artist’s control of original work: the legal right of creative artists or publishers to control the use and reproduction of their original works.
Basically, copyright automatically protects images found on websites. Artists do not have to register their works in order to protect them and a copyright symbol or notice does not have to be included with an image in order for it to be protected.
Here are some myths that I copied that I thought relevant to my context:
1) If it doesn’t have a copyright notice, it’s not copyrighted. The default you should assume for other people’s works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless you know for sure. It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures, too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them to the net, and if you come upon something unknown, you shouldn’t post that either.
2) If you don’t charge for it, it’s not a violation. False. Whether you charge can affect the damages awarded in court, but that’s main difference under the law. It’s still a violation if you give it away — and there can still be serious damages if you hurt the commercial value of the property.
3) If it’s posted to Internet, it’s in the public domain. False. Nothing modern and creative is in the public domain anymore unless the owner explicitly puts it in the public domain(*). Explicitly, as in you have a note from the author/owner saying, “I grant this to the public domain.” Those exact words or words very much like them.
4) It doesn’t hurt anybody — in fact it’s free advertising. It’s up to the owner to decide if they want the free ads or not. If they want them, they will be sure to contact you. Don’t rationalize whether it hurts the owner or not, ask them. Usually that’s not too hard to do.
I am pledging to all bloggers to help me bust this infringement issue. Here is a banner you can share on your blog. You may also copy this article and link it back here. You may also share this article on twitter and facebook.
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