Copyright (The Importance of…)

During my work based learning lesson today, I was introduced to the importance of copyright. My tutor explained how copyright works and made sure that I made my blog secure enough so that nobody else can take credit for it. It is equally important that I also do not pass someone else’s work off as my own. After research into copyright I have written a summary of my findings below.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Generally, it is “the right to copy”, but also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, who may financially benefit from it, and other related rights.

It protects the physical expression of ideas. As soon as an idea is given physical form, e.g. a piece of writing, a photograph, music, a film, a web page, it is protected by copyright. There is no need for registration or to claim copyright in some way, protection is automatic at the point of creation. Both published and unpublished works are protected by copyright.

Normally, copyright is owned by the creator(s) of the work, e.g. an author, composer, artist, photographer etc. If the work is created in the course of a person’s employment, then the copyright holder is usually the employer.

Copyright is a property right and can be sold or transferred to others. Authors of articles in academic journals, for example, frequently transfer the copyright in those articles to the journal’s publisher. It is important not to confuse ownership of a work with ownership of the copyright in it: a person may have acquired an original copyright work, e.g. a painting, letter or photograph, but unless the copyright in it has expressly also been transferred, it will remain with the creator.

It is regulated by law, the main statute in the UK being the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA). This was amended in October 2003 by the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 which incorporated into UK law the changes required by the EU Copyright Directive.

How Does it Relate to Your Blog?

With blogging comes great responsibility. You define the content of your blog and you carry the full responsibility for every word you have published online. More than that, you are responsible for the comments in your posts. To make sure you fulfil your legal obligations, it’s important to know, what you, as a blogger, may or should do; and you have to know, how to achieve this. After all, the ignorance of the law does not make one exempt from compliance thereof.

From the legal point of view, copyright in web is often considered as the grey area; as such it is often misunderstood and violated – mostly simply because bloggers do not know, what laws they have to abide and what issues they have to consider. In fact, copyright myths are common, as well as numerous copyright debates in the Web.

Copyright in the Web: An Overview

  1. Copyright applies to the Web.
  2. Your work is protected under copyright as soon as it’s created and protected for your lifetime, plus 70 years.
  3. Copyright expires. When copyright expires, the work becomes public domain.
  4. Ideas cannot be copyrighted, only the tangible expression of the idea can.
  5. You may use logos and trademarks in your works.
  6. You may use copyrighted material under the “fair use” doctrine.
  7. You may quote only limited portions of work. You may publish excerpts, not whole articles.
  8. You have to ask author’s permission to translate his/her article.
  9. The removal of the copyrighted material does not remove the copyright infringement.
  10. If something looks copyrighted, it is.
  11. Advertising protected material without an agreement is illegal.
  12. You may not always delete or modify your visitors’ comments.
  13. User generated content is the property of the users.
  14. Copyright is violated by using information, not by charging for it.
  15. Getting explicit permission can save you a lot of trouble.

How Can You Ensure You Do Not Breach Copyright on Your Blog?

1 – Search for photos that are approved for use

2 – Take your own photos and share the love

3 – Use sites like Pinterest and Tumblr with caution

4 – Assume that something is copyrighted until proven otherwise

5 – Spread the word to your fellow bloggers

How Can You Ensure Everything You Post on Your Blog is Copyright Protected?

It is important that you protect your own website or blog with the appropriate copyright actions, but also, that you use and refer to others content without violating their copyright.

  • Deciding what restrictions you want to apply
  • Telling readers what the policies are
  • Physically stopping people from making copies of your work
  • Making it obvious when your work is copied

I have created a widget on my personal blog:-

Copyright © 2012 (Clare Louise Twitchell). All Rights Reserved.

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