My work has been republished online and offline in all corners of the world by many different people and it always puts a smile on my face to know that someone out there appreciates my work and finds it worth sharing with their network. This in turn grows my network base as well. So I never frown upon sharing of my work as long as the appropriate credit (citation) is given. I think it’s only fair to do so!
A couple of months ago, I was giving a presentation to a group of consultants about the Social Media Hierarchy of Needs and the first comment I got from one of the attendees was “this is brilliant, did you copyright that?”, my reply was “who would it serve if I hog this information all to myself, besides the internet keeps a record of who said what first …”
Recently, I had someone simply copy one of my posts and publish it on their blog without any reference back to me. I was furious. I had every “right” to be though.
So this lead me to google more about internet copyright laws and understand my legal rights and the fine line between sharing and stealing other people’s work. As expected, I got roughly 22 million search results, but the one that caught my eye was by Brad Templeton, entitled 10 Big Myth About Copyright Explained that i strongly recommend reading. Here is a selection of some of the common myths explained in details by Templeton.
- “If it doesn’t have a copyright notice, it’s not copyrighted.”
- “If I don’t charge for it, it’s not a violation.”
- “My posting was just fair use”
- “If you don’t defend your copyright, you lose it!”
- “If I make up my own stories, but base them on another work, my new work belongs to me.”
- “They emailed me a copy, so I can repost it”
- “It doesn’t hurt anybody, in fact it’s free advertising”
I’m assuming you do understand that all the above are myths, ie FALSE!
According to Templeton, copyrighting has two main purposes: a) “the protection of the author’s right to obtain commercial benefit from valuable work”, and b) “the protection of the author’s general right to control how a work is used.”
Does this mean you can’t republish or reproduce anything? Not at all! In most cases, all you need to do is just credit the author for his work - acknowledge his/her efforts, it’s always nice to say thank you. Think About It!