Well it finally happened. Someone stole one of my photos and I found it. It is one of my Brooks Range photos and is being used on a Facebook page. I always thought one of my henna pictures would be first, as henna picture theft seems to be a fairly common occurence. Many people simply do not realize that the online henna world is extremely small and we tend to know each other’s works. I’ve sent a message to the owner of the page so we’ll see what happens. Something had better happen within 24 hours though as that is when I will take the next step. This is a reminder to all my friends, keep the original photo and only post lower resolution photos to the internet. It’s one failsafe way to prove ownership.
Just because it is on the internet, does not mean you can use it. Just because there is no copyright symbol or watermark on it, does not mean you can use it. You are stealing and I will pursue prosecution.
10 Big Myths about copyright explained
– by Brad Templeton
Note that this is an essay about copyright myths. It assumes you know at least what copyright is — basically the legal exclusive right of the author of a creative work to control the copying of that work. If you didn’t know that, check out my own brief introduction to copyright for more information. Feel free to link to this document, no need to ask me. Really, NO need to ask.
1) “If it doesn’t have a copyright notice, it’s not copyrighted.”
False. This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989
is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. The default you should assume for other people’s works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless you know for sure.
It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures, too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them to the net, and if you come upon something unknown, you shouldn’t post that either.
The correct form for a notice is:
“Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]”
You can use C in a circle © instead of “Copyright” but “(C)” has never been given legal force. The phrase “All Rights Reserved” used to be required in some nations but is now not legally needed most places. In some countries it may help preserve some of the “moral rights.”
2) “If I don’t charge for it, it’s not a violation.”
False. Whether you charge can affect the damages awarded in court, but that’s main difference under the law. It’s still a violation if you give it away — and there can still be serious damages if you hurt the commercial value of the property. There is a USA exception for personal copying of music, which is not a violation, though courts seem to have said that doesn’t include widescale anonymous personal copying as Napster. If the work has no commercial value, the violation is mostly technical and is unlikely to result in legal action. Fair use determinations (see below) do sometimes depend on the involvement of money.
3) “If it’s posted to Usenet it’s in the public domain.”
Nothing modern and creative is in the public domain anymore unless the owner explicitly puts it in the public domain(*). Explicitly, as in you have a note from the author/owner saying, “I grant this to the public domain.” Those exact words or words very much like them.
These days, almost all things are copyrighted the moment they are written, and no copyright notice is required.
Copyright is still violated whether you charged money or not, only damages are affected by that.
Postings to the net are not granted to the public domain, and don’t grant you any permission to do further copying
- Watch out, however, as new laws are moving copyright violation into the criminal realm.
- Don’t rationalize that you are helping the copyright holder; often it’s not that hard to ask permission.
Copyright law was recently amended by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which changed net copyright in many ways. In particular, it put all sorts of legal strength behind copy-protection systems, making programs illegal and reducing the reality of fair use rights.
Permission is granted to freely print, unmodified, up to 100 copies of the most up to date version of this document from http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html, or to copy it in off-the-net electronic form. On the net/WWW, however, you must link here rather than put up your own page. If you had not seen a notice like this on the document, you would have to assume you did not have permission to copy it. This document is still protected by you-know-what even though it has no copyright notice. Please don’t send mail asking me if you can link here — you can do so, without asking or telling me. The only people I prefer not link here are those who mail me asking for permission to link.