Copyright Etiquette

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Copyright Etiquette

Published by on February 24th 2013.

I recommend that anyone who seeks to use another person's work read 'Copyright Basics' located at http://www.copyright.gov/.

Just because you can capture by screenshot an image or download it by right clicking does not mean that you have any right to use the image. The same can be said of written works. Anything that appears online is subject to copyright protection.

Graphics, images, photos, files, videos, written articles, blogs and emails are created by someone somewhere and they alone attained the legal copyright upon creation of the work. You have no right to just take and use their work as you please without their specific permission and there is just no exception to this rule. You should always ask the copyright owner for their permission before you use anything they have created.

You may think you are being nice and giving credit where credit is due by listing the author or linking to their website but you still need to ask the author’s permission before you post their work online. An author may not want to have their information posted or may not approve of your usage of their work and that is their choice alone to make not yours. Giving credit does not give you permission. You should always ask the owner if you may use their content before you use it.

If an author has posted on a webpage or website that the content is free to use without permission you may then proceed to use the content but be aware that it is still not your content and the author still holds copyrights to the content. In such cases it would be in your best interest and just good etiquette to write the author and request permission for use of the content in the manner in which you desire to use it.

You may never legally place work derived from another's work within the public domain unless such work has previously been placed within the public domain by the author. For general good practices and usage you should assume that the creator is the only person that may designate their work in any form to the public domain. Perhaps the creator does not desire their work to be in the public domain and if you have not obtained written permission to use their work in such a manner you are acting against the law and infringing upon the author's rights. Do not falsely think that you will never be sued for such infringement. All a person needs to do is contact an attorney to file a copyright infringement lawsuit and have you located through your internet service provider no matter what screen name you may have used online.

Aside from the legalities it simply is not good etiquette to assume that you have any right to use any portion of a work that is not created solely by you or previously resides within the public domain, having been placed into the public domain by the creator, whether or not you feel that you have acted in good faith by giving credit to the author or listing the webpage where the work resides. You simply must have the author's expressed written permission for anything you do with their creation. Unless you obtain the work from the public domain you have no right to use it as you like unless you have a legally binding contract by which you have purchased all rights to the work or you are the creator. You should always obtain written permission to use any work you have not created and never offer a work you did not create into the public domain without written permission from the author to do so.

This information is not quoted directly from law and there are certain circumstances in which another party may legally designate a work into the public domain but for general purposes and those employed on this website for the most part these circumstances should not and do not apply. If you would like to read further on the specifics of public domain and copyrights I urge you to see these articles:

Take a short quiz to see how much you know at http://cdl-says.jigsy.com/.

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Recent comments

user icon cdl contributing user on February 24th 2013

icon-image/8339-32x32x32.png image It never hurts to ask permission but not asking for permission could hurt everyone concerned and lead to litigation.
icon-image/8383-32x32x32.png image

user icon ツ Mimi Destino ♡ registered user on August 29th 2013
user icon Anonymous
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What about ICL files?
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I wish there were...