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December 30, 2013

Blogging Battles: How to Handle Virtual Malice and Content Theft

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Blogging is hard as it is. You read everyday, write like your life depends on it, put your experience, thoughts, insights, and opinions into each blog post, not to mention back them up by research.

You’ve been marketing your blog and getting traffic in spades. Ever so slowly, your blog seems to be growing in popularity and reach. Your readers begin to engage with you, comments seem to be flowing in, and a community begins to develop.

All of that is good until you hit the point most bloggers dread: you also begin to receive malicious comments or hate mail. read more

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September 16, 2011

How Video is Changing Copyright for Bloggers

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Video Camera ImageWith more and more bloggers dipping their toes into creating video content for their sites, the climate they’re working in is changing when it comes to copyright.

Though copyright, by design, protects all forms of content equally, how it is enforced and who is doing the enforcing changes drastically with the medium. This means that bloggers who might take some of their habits, both good and bad, from text into video, might be in for a bit of culture shock.

So what are some of the copyright changes a blogger should expect when going from text to video? Here’s just a small sample of some of the ways the two media are very different from both a practical and a legal perspective. read more

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August 26, 2011

5 Responsibilities You Have as a Community Admin

Image of CommunityAs a blogger, you are more than just an author and content creator, you are also a community administrator, managing and encouraging interaction between your readers and visitors.

Though much of this community interaction you can’t control, namely all of the conversation that happens off your site (Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.), a lot of it does take place directly under your purview, including comments on your site, conversation on your Facebook page and so forth.

To be a successful blogger, you need a good community to survive and thrive. However, running a community also comes with a series of responsibilities, both ethical and legal, that you need to be aware of.

Simply put, being a community admin is far more than having a comment box open on your site and letting others post. There’s actually a great deal more to it, especially if you want to have a community that is both productive and on the right side of the law. read more

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April 29, 2011

The 3 Most Common Copyright Mistakes Bloggers Make

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Do OverCopyright is a notoriously confusing and complicated area of law, but one that also impacts nearly every part of our daily lives. As such, it is pretty much inevitable that well-intended people are going to make mistakes.

However, with copyright law, blunders can be very costly. In addition to the threat of a lawsuit, one can have their site shut down, access to some of their favorite services revoked and lose a lot of credibility. Even if none of those things comes to pass, a copyright dispute is still a major headache and one that most, if given the choice, would prefer to avoid.

As such, it’s important for bloggers to be aware of some of the more common copyright pitfalls that come from blogging and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

With that in mind, here are three of the most common copyright blunders bloggers make and what can be done to prevent yourself from falling into them. Fortunately, all are easy mistakes to see and avoid, if you know to look for them. read more

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August 24, 2009

Livestreaming and Copyright Issues

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Livestreaming is rapidly becoming a powerful force in blogging. Not only is it a fast way to add interactive media to a site, but it’s also a powerful way to record static media, including videos and podcasts, for later.

However, with this new technology comes a new set of legal challenges, one of the biggest being copyright. Not only do rightsholders face the new challenge of content, including audio, TV shows and sporting events being streamed out live, but the companies behind these new technologies face an uncertain legal future, where laws designed for traditional hosts may or may not apply.

This conflict has lead Justin.TV to partner with content matching service Vobile to filter out infringing material, both in their archives and eventually in their live streams. It also has lead to Ustream being sued by a boxing promoter for allegedly allowing over 2,000 viewers to watch a Pay-Per-View fight for free.

In many ways this legal climate is similar to the one YouTube faced during its early days (and continues to face with its billion-dollar lawsuit vs. Viacom) but it can have serious implications for users of livestreaming services. Many of the protections afforded users under the law of most hosts don’t easily apply to livestreaming services and that could create problems down the road. read more

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February 18, 2009

This is the Year of Original Content

This blog has no brain - use your own - caution signI’m working on my annual Things I Want Gone from the Web article and I’ve personally designated this “The Year of Original Content.” We’re done playing around with feed scraping and autoblogging.

The blog echo chamber effect of someone blockquoting and linking the same content as a recommendation, echoing through the web without original content, is a beginner’s mistake. Don’t do it. Always add your original voice and content to your recommendations, telling your readers why it is important to leave this blog and go to another, then come back for more.

Google took action to penalize duplicate content within a site and between sites, and added bonus points for original and unique, appropriate and relevant keywords around links, especially link lists, rewarding original content providers with nicer PageRank scores. Similar actions are being taken by other major search engines, directories, and legitimate content aggregators.

As a serious blogger, you’ve learned the lesson and stay focused on creating original content. You link to other people’s content appropriately, taking care to protect their copyrights and not confuse your reader’s, putting other people’s content in blockquotes with clearly indicated links and credits.

For scammers, scrapers, and plagiarists, other people’s content has turned into a major money-maker as they use other people’s content for financial gain and misdirection. read more

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January 26, 2009

Deleting Content on the Web

There’s an old saying that, once something has been uploaded to the Internet, it can not be truly deleted. The nature of the Web, one where content is copied and pasted constantly, makes it impossible, at least in theory, to actually remove any work added to it, no matter how hard one may try.

As true as that may be, what happens if you decide you want to pack up and leave the Web altogether? That you aren’t comfortable having a Web site, blog, Flickr account or anything else in your name? Perhaps its privacy concerns that bother you, a change of heart about what’s important in life or just a wish to have a fresh start. Either way, what happens after you hit “delete” and say goodbye.

As it turns out, the answer isn’t as simple as many think. Removing your content from the Web is not as easy as canceling your accounts, nor is it completely impossible. Much of it depends on the type of content you’ve produced, where you’ve placed it and how the public has responded to it.

There are a lot of questions about where your content goes after you delete it, questions well worth considering just in case one day you do decide to pull the plug. read more

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November 17, 2008

5 Holiday Copyright Hazards for Bloggers

For at least some sites and some bloggers, the holiday season has already begun on a rather depressing note. Sites that have posted prices or information from Wal-Mart’s upcoming “Black Friday” advertisements have already been threatened. At least one site, SearchAllDeals, has received a DMCA Takedown Notice regarding it.

Even though the copyright element of the claim is questionable, especially considering that you can not copyright facts, including prices, it is clear that the holidays can introduce a new set of copyright hazards for bloggers and other Webmasters.

So, as we rapidly approach the holiday season, here are five of the biggest copyright hazards that you may need to watch out for as you celebrate the season online. read more

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October 27, 2008

Could Your Host Disconnect You?

Jeff Rosenstock is the head of Quote Unquote Records, a small, independent label that gives its music away for free on their site.

However, earlier this month, he suffered a setback as his site was pulled down, seemingly for no reason. According to his host, the cause was that they felt he was infringing copyright even though all of the music on his site was content he had the right to distribute, much of it his own, and no one had filed a complaint.

It was an unnecessary and extremely pro-active takedown, but it has had many other bloggers, musicians and filmmakers worried. Could their ISP do the same thing to them and, if so, what could they do about it?

Fortunately, cases such as Rosenstock’s are relatively rare and the odds of it happening to any one person are very slim. But after Rosenstock endured several days of downtime before his site was restored, it has many very nervous about the potential for disaster. read more

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August 4, 2008

DMCA Safe Harbor: Part Two – The DMCA Checklist

In part one, we discussed the DMCA safe harbor provision as it pertains to bloggers, we looked at the elements of the law, what exactly they said and even the elements that compose a proper DMCA notice.

But even though the law itself is generally well understood, that does not mean it is not abused. Some, either through accident or malice, file false DMCA notices and demand removal for content that is not infringing. Others, unwittingly sacrifice the protections the law provides by not responding appropriately.

Bearing in mind that I am not an attorney, it is worth taking a few moments to think about strategies for using and handling DMCA notices. Because, whether you receive one or have to send one, it is best to be prepared for what is expected of you. read more

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