Copyright – What Do You Constitute as Ok?

Thursday’s Topical Tête-à-Tête:  

I have just realised that I must have saved this article instead of hitting the ‘publish’ button yesterday (apologies).  Please find below my blog post intended for yesterday.

Today I want to talk about a topic that has preoccupied my mind since the onset of my writing endeavours and subsequently my venture into the blogging world.  Copyright – I am no master on the topic and quite frankly I am uncertain if I will ever achieve that honour; therefore, I will only attempt to ‘think out loud’ for the purpose of this discussion.  Should you want to jump right in and give us some insight or just your own thoughts on this matter then please do grace us with your presence -I am all ears. 🙂

(As always, there is a pdf document at the bottom of the post for those who may find this a difficult read.)

COPYRIGHT – WHAT DO YOU CONSTITUTE AS OK?

I have always been a little hesitant when it comes to putting out my writings/artworks/photography etc on the internet (be it fictional or not) -not that I do not want to share it with you; it’s more the case that -if what I do is any good; someone may pinch/borrow/pass it on as their own etc… (I am certain I am not the only one to be plagued with these thoughts –particularly if I think about those working in the creative field; how do you protect your own work?!)

Then there’s that age old argument ‘if you don’t put it out there you will never know’ and no one will hear of you if you haven’t bagged yourself an agent (what are the likelihood of attracting an agents interest by self-promoting?) -so begins the conundrum…  I know I am going off on a tangent; it was just a random thought that has some weight when considering promoting your work and with that, the issues of copyright arise…

I pestered a lot of my good knowledgeable friends about the aspects of copyright –I researched it on the internet (as you do) and came up with a wealth of information that surpassed my knowledge and added extra question marks in its wake.  It seems copyright laws differ from country to country, though there is also the Berne Convention which encourages an international collective understanding and agreement.  I have since found out that there are other laws to consider (depending on where you reside) these are: the Creative Commons Licence and the DMCA (see further details in the comments section of Self-Hosting – My Trials and Tribble-ationsWayne Borean enlightened me quite a bit; I recommend the read).

Whilst doing all the above necessary reading; it dawned on me; all we can do is declare ownership of our creative works, enforcing it would be another matter entirely –if at all possible…  This hurt my mind whilst I pondered away.  Amongst a million thoughts I got talking to Emlyn Chand and she told me how I could track my articles/creativity etc by using Google Alerts; this somewhat cheered me up –though in practice I have been lax –mainly because I keep forgetting to do so.  Though it makes me wonder, how I would proceed if I came across someone who took content from my blog…  I took precautions; I put up legal notices on my blog (copyright notice & a linking policy) and now I question if the linking policy was a good idea.

Four months into blogging and I have come across many trackbacks/pingbacks that link to my posts (some from genuine bloggers who mention you in their posts (which I have no quibble with) and others from more dubious backgrounds that have copied parts –if not whole, and enabled a link back to the original article).  I wonder if these are a good thing or not; where do these stand’ with copyright laws?  I suppose it is a good thing that they (whoever they are) do not pass it as their own and provide that link etc, but I am still unsure if it should be acceptable; shouldn’t they seek permission?  Then there’s the whole issue of how can you contact them if there is no contact details –totally annoying!

What are your thoughts?  Do you think these levels of ‘linked’ plagiarism are ok; should you allow their trackbacks/pingbacks to be visible in your comments?  Do you have any other concerns or discoveries that may enlighten us?  I would be intrigued to hear from you.

Copyright © Ozlem Yikici 2011 & Copyright © doodllz™ 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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If you want to share your thoughts; by all means do so:  As I always say ‘all good discussions start with just one word‘.

Pdf. document:  Copyright – What Do You Constitute As Ok

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~ by yikici on July 22, 2011.

6 Responses to “Copyright – What Do You Constitute as Ok?”

  1. I’m always hesitant to post anything online. Who knows where it’ll go? But a thread on the Absolute Write forum and Hannah Moskowitz’s own thoughts on the whole sort of issue calmed me down a bit. On the thread, it said definitely to be careful, but also asked whether you have ever felt that need to steal somebody else’s work and, granted, there are some people like that out there, but the majority are not. And ideas…ideas are a dime a dozen. Hannah Moskowitz said something about that and that she thought just little snippets would be fine to post, so long as it wasn’t a full-length novel.

    It’s still unlikely that I’ll post actual snippets of my work, but I’m trying to be more free about speaking of my writing, if only in summaries and the like, because those are merely the ideas. Copyright…that’s a tricky thing for ideas. I’d almost say it doesn’t exist or would be at least near-impossible to prove. Worst case scenario, I could always just delete the posts I’m worried about.

    As to linking, if due credit is given, I personally don’t think too much of it. I link to a lot of pictures from deviantART, but credit the artists every time. If it’s not credited…it makes me feel a little uneasy about it all. There’s not much of anything you can do about it, though, and that’s the worst thing about plagiarism, about stealing. There’s nothing you can do. Copyright tries to protect that, but it’s incredibly difficult to prove, and probably just as expensive to even bother trying.

    In short, I’m trying to get comfortable with posting ideas online in that term of copyright (because it’s practically nonexistent), but not my writing, and that linking is okay, so long as there’s proper credit. Ah…I rambled a lot, got a bit off topic…but about copyright, um, that’s my (rather long) two cents on it.

    • Thank you for your comments (you can ramble as much as you like) 🙂

      I certainly share most of your concerns; copyright is a tricky topic and you have made me realised I have missed out loads of other copyright issues I wanted to discuss; maybe I’ll delve into that in another post or update this post sometime soon and then repost it.

      It is true we cannot copyright our ideas (there is no sure way to do so -not that I know of). In addition, copyright -as a concept, is both simple and difficult to comprehend and I believe it needs to have some kind of revision so it is not too confusing to take in.

  2. As long as my material is attributed back to me and there’s a proper link, I don’t mind others sharing it on their sites. Now…if they were to claim the work as their own, that would be a problem. I think it fairly unlikely for someone to take my work and make anything signficant of it. Not sure what I’d do if i found out that. Probably publicly let them know that the material is stolen and I know about. Post about it on my blog. Contact their site host. When it comes to stories I plan to publish either trad or indie, I’d probably keep it under wraps except to beta readers, editors, etc.

    • Sounds like a sensible way to approach this matter; it is a tricky situation and I do hope we do not encounter such circumstances. I am getting used to the idea of sharing works/articles -as long as they are linked back but I suppose it will be a long while still before I feel hugely comfortable with the whole thing. I think more research needs to be done for me to get my head round it fully! 🙂 Thank you for popping by!

  3. I find copyright laws somewhat annoying in their current state. As Sonia suggests the average person is unlikely to pursue a claim against infringement. Yet some big corporate entity will throw a bevy of lawyers at an individual who makes a ‘fair use’ publication of a piece of work. I’m really doubtful about whether you can ever control the copying of ideas without negatively effecting the growth of new ideas. Since controlling them (as we do now) often means no one uses existing ones, in fear of being sued for misuse. And these bi decade extensions get carried further often entirely at the behest of some corporation, such as EMI or Walt Disney. Whilst other lesser known works, where the copyright holder cannot be contacted, are left in relative obscurity, never to be rediscovered again. Whilst the artist should certainly get remunerated for their work, applying some arbitrary period of time to their exclusive right to it doesn’t seem workable either. I think an author for a book will always be recognised as the creator and in theory should be paid as with all the parties that get paid for the making of a book, from writer to paper-mill. It’s unclear what I could do with a website that decided to copy my book in digital form. I think I would have to create my own free digital copy perhaps asking for donations whilst providing a more personalised edition for those that bought the book. This has worked for some authors, so it’s no an entirely demented idea. Having said that, with the age of the kindle upon us, digital dissemination of works are likely to become the norm. This is going to be a challenge in the future for sure. Applying legal force to it hasn’t stopped the proliferation of music and movie downloads, so I am very doubtful these big media moguls will win in the end. The internet is here to stay I hope and where it brings challenges to us as writers, it can also bring great rewards too.

    • From my understanding of copyright -ideas are not subject to copyright -they are usable; it is just the actual works that can be protected under copyright laws and, well that’s another issue entirely as discussed above.

      It’s interesting what you say about digital book -though maybe it is more feasible doing so via Kindle etc -a project I am planning to embark on soon.

      Copyright is an interesting topic and no doubt, it will crop up time and time again… I may re-visit this again at some point -if you would like to do some collaborative work this let me know; I’m sure your insight will be useful. 😀

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