Most bloggers understand the importance and the value in creating original content. Most would be at least somewhat upset to their own writing used on other sites without permission or attribution and many actively track their work for misuse.
However, there is more to being a good copyright citizen than just writing your own content, quoting only what you need to in your entries and attributing your sources. Your blog is much more than just text and there are many copyright “hazards” that even well-intended bloggers can step in.
That’s why last year, almost to the day, I wrote an article about holiday copyright hazards for bloggers to avoid, But while the holidays are an especially dangerous time for copyright issues, they are a potential thorn in the side year around.
So with that in mind, here are five copyright hazards to avoid, regardless of the time of year. read more
For bloggers it can be a long and difficult road to reach success and occasionally come close to your subjects and conduct an interview with them. It was great to see that UK Manchester United blog Red Rants had the opportunity to run an exclusive interview with world star Nemanja Vidic. This would be the ultimate dream for many a sports blogger but things aren’t always as nice as they seem. Content theft often is an issue, especially when exclusive entries, interviews are scored.
Red Rants was no exception to this rule. Only some later, today, two main stream UK media outlets used the interview without attribution. Both published quotes of the interview without referring to the source. The Skysports article consist of more than 50% quotes. Surprisingly Skysports Terms and Conditions do NOT allow reproduction and even don’t mention Fair Use. read more
In copyright law, the big news is always made by cases such as the Jammie Thomas verdict, the Tenenbaum trial or even The Pirate Bay trial in Sweden. As importance as these cases are, their legal applicability to the average person is dubious, especially since the RIAA has stopped suing file sharers.
For the cases that could have a direct impact on your life, you often have to dig deeper. This is true for the case of Brayton Purcell LLP v. Recordon & Recordon, a seemingly dull case about two law firms in a dispute over content posted on their respective Web sites.
How big is the difference? The dissenting judge on the panel said the following, “Under the majority’s opinion, every website operator faces the potential that he will be hailed into far-away courts based upon allegations of intellectual property infringement, if he happens to know where the alleged owner of the property rights resides.”
In short, if you are accused of copyright infringement, it is no longer safe to assume that you would be sued in your own district, but rather that you could be forced to litigate in the plaintiff’s court, enduring the extra costs and expense that comes with it. read more
It seems that the rest of the world is waking up to the fact that stolen content is big business. Within the past two years, there are a variety of services you can use to track where your online content has gone, report and stop it. A new project is underway called the Fair Syndication Consortium that might put a dollar amount on that stolen content, paying you for others abusing your content. read more
Story Updated 04/08/09 (see end)Jon Engle is a graphic designer from New Mexico. He has done work for many TV shows and TV networks as well as countless Web sites.
However, a recent series of events has put Engle’s reputation at risk. According to a post in Engle’s blog, a stock art site has accused him of copyright infringement. They have presented him with an $18,000 bill, threatened him with a lawsuit and even contacted his previous clients, claiming that he was under investigation for infringement and that the work he did for them “may have been stolen from their client.”
The problem, according to Engle, is that he created the works himself and that he believes someone uploaded them to the stock photography site without his permission, and in violation of that site’s terms of service. But the company, feeling that the uploads were legitimate, are aggressively protecting what they see as their intellectual property, using their copyright attorney.
However, it doesn’t matter who is in the right in this case. For either side to clear their name, they are going to have to prove that the work is theirs. Unfortunately, as Engle admits, this will not be a simple matter as he “would never have thought to plan for something like this”. Though he has some incidental proof, namely upload dates to LogoPond and metadata in the files themselves, these are hardly ideal since Engle is not completely sure when the images were lifted.
Engle’s story highlights the need for writers, artists, photographers and other creators to be aware that there are a million ways their work could come into dispute and to prepare for such a situation in advance. The end goal is be in a situation where, no matter what happens to your work, you always have proof that you created it first. read more
In honor of my declaring war on content theft with the “Year of Original Content,”FairShare is offering a limited number of free registrations for Blog Herald readers to try their copyright infringement tracking system currently in private beta testing.
FairShare, unlike Attributor’s current business service, is targeted at bloggers and Webmasters who want to track how their content is being used and where, but do not require advanced tools and filtering. It works with Creative Commons licenses and tracks where content reappears, how much is used, if the content is linked and if the site displays any advertisements.
Though the service carries with it many different limitations, for bloggers that can not afford or don’t have the time to use a more advanced system, it is likely a very good choice.
FairShare creates a feed based upon your blog’s URL that is matched against the sites that FairShare monitors and tracks across the web, comparing the content against the original by checking the number of words copied, whether or not the matching site links back, if there are ads on the site, and other copyright violations in accordance with your selected Creative Commons license. FairShare supports all six v3.0 Creative Commons licenses. read more
Back in November, Attributor released a study that many Webmasters and content providers intrigued. According the report, for many Websites, most of the viewings of their content do not happen on their page or their RSS feed, but on other sites.
Though the service has some limitations, it can be a valuable tool for bloggers to get a glimpse at how their content is used on the Web and where some of their untracked readers may be hiding. read more
It seems that every week a new product or service is announced that promises to protect your work in some way or another. Whether it is helping you “register” your copyright, detect plagiarism or even outright prevent infringement, there are tons of companies that want to take your money to protect your work.
However most of these products turn out not to live up to their hype. At best they are a waste of time, at worst they are an outright scam.
So who is out to scam you and who is here to help? Well, here are some of the more common types of copyright protection services and what you should look out for before you sign on the dotted line. read more
The plugin, as well as Dan Zarella’s plugin by the same name, searches Twitter to for tweets that link back to posts on the blog and displays those tweets on the site under their respective entries, much like a trackback, but with Twitter (hence the name).
These plugins do, by their very nature, copy and paste tweets, displaying them on the user’s Web site, all without the explicit permission to of the author. Where trackbacks are sent from the linking site and comments are left intentionally by the visitor, these plugins are different in that they activelhy go out in search of these “tweetbacks” (including parsing URL shortening services), even though the creator has taken no steps to ensure they appear on the site.
This, in turn, raises serious issues about copyright, scraping and more that have to be at least looked at. Is it legal to copy and publish tweets from others without permission, simply because they link back to your site? The answers are not as simple as one might initially think. read more
Bloggers use, and don’t use, Creative Commons Licenses for a variety of reasons. Some feel that it is a great way to give back to the community, others use CC licensing as a form of promotion, encouraging their content to be used with attribution, and others feel that it is a way to promote copyright reform.
However, Creative Commons can actually provide bloggers benefits that go well beyond the buttons and badges. In the uncertain copyright climate of the Web, having a firm lawyer-written license, regardless of what it says, can have huge benefits over the ambiguity that comes with not having one.
Here are just five less-promoted ways that choosing a CC license can help you, your site and your content, even as you surrender some of your rights in a particular work. read more