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It 236 - Copyright Implications

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Copyright Implications Checkpoint

Justin Galloway


Thursday, April 28, 2011

The long and the short of the matter is this: whenever a person creates from scratch a work of art, music, video (movies; etc.), or written text; that piece of work belongs to them, and they hold the copyrights. Without having legally and purposely filed the work with an attorney, the Federal Law allows for authors of an intellectual property to not only stake a claim on his or her work, but to sue an opposing party for any assumed damages from use of the property without express permission.

Website design and Internet use makes this a tricky subject to cover. Certainly if site developers create something for their site, they are therefore the owners of said intellectual property. As owners of said handiwork, they are protected under the US Copyright Law of 1976, and as a result of this are granted five specific privileges. Originators of any intellectual property are granted the rights to make copies of their work, make variations of their work, and distribute, display, or perform the opus publicly. Make no mistake though; if a person goes to a website and takes from it any of the composition therein, they have committed a copyright crime.

Be it code, an image, text, music, or video; more likely than not the product borrowed belongs to the site author(s). On way to avoid this dilemma would be to possibly email the site originator(s), and see if they mind their work being used in the manner with which an outside person may wish to use it. Some creators may not mind, and would only ask for credit to be given for the use of the product. However, make no mistake that the images, text, and other properties found on still belong to someone, and are not legally copied or used.

Another illegal use of the Internet and Website development pertains to linking. While a maker of a site may wish to link to another site to add to their own, they must first make an inquiry to the site owner, or Webmaster, to make absolutely sure that it is OK to do so. Another site may not want to be linked, and linking to another site or its content could very well bring the law to the infringing site developer's doorstep. Good news for some rests with the Fair Use Act, which permits a small amount of an others' work to be used without permission. However, this only pertains to the usage of the work for educational purposes or criticism of said composition, and is limited as to how much can be used without overstepping the copyright boundaries.

Developing a Website can be fun, but also dangerous. With so many laws put into effect to protect originators of specific intellectual properties, the analogy of



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