Advances in technology have made it very easy for all us to share, copy or change information. However, people who are blogging or into online publishing should be very careful about copyright infringement. A small mistake can be an expensive one and could lead to legal complications.
Here are dos and don’ts for an online publisher that can help you figure out what you can do and what you cannot while publishing content or images on a website or blog.
o You should ensure that you use just material that is available on the public domain. This means you can use anything that was written by the federal government, documents produced prior to 1923 and those that were produced before 1977 before copyright notice came into existence.
o If you find something interesting, you can quote a small portion from the text while citing reference to the original text. This falls under fair use where you can use a part of the text for the purpose of commentary, reporting news or even criticism.
o In case you are talking about a company, make sure you use the company’s name or logo. You can use this under nominative fair use if you are analyzing or criticizing a company.
o You can use facts and ideas as reported in articles and web pages as per the copyright law.
o You can use things like names, slogans, titles, short phrases or listing of ingredients that do not fall under the purview of the copyright law.
o Just because you give credit to an author, it does not mean that you are not violating the copyright law. You need the author’s permission to use his or her work.
o If you do not see any copyright information, it does not mean that you can copy it on your website or blog. Any articles or original written text or images made after 1977 do not require a copyright notice. This means that work published on digital or print media is covered by the copyright law, unless mentioned otherwise.
o Creative Commons material is not meant to be used in any way you think fit. You should check out the terms and conditions of use in the license so that you do not end up violating them. Some licenses require the user to give credit to the original writer, while others require the user to make certain changes in the document.
o Even if you are not using the article commercially, do not copy it. Make sure you get the permission from the original writer to use the article.
o Just because you remove a copyrighted article from your website or blog does not mean that you are scot-free. You have still committed copyright infringement and you could get into trouble if the author decides to pursue the matter.