Why all the fuss about copyright?

We’re all in this together, folks. You blog, I blog, we all blog together. But as a writer, (professional or amateur, or even if you’re someone who doesn’t think of themselves as a writer, but writes/blogs anyway…) it’s something we all need to understand, be aware of, and work together to ensure our basic rights are mutually protected.

Although the title of the piece leads you to think it would only matter after the fact, the very detailed explanation called “What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content” by Lorelle at WordPress provides a great deal of information about why copyright not only “matters” in the blogosphere – but perhaps more importantly, why, in the U.S. and under international provisions, it is in fact the LAW. If you’re a U.S. resident, did you know that copyright is actually a right provided in the Constitution?! Doesn’t matter what you or I or anyone else thinks about it. It’s there! My words are mine, your words are yours. That includes any comments you leave behind. Those aren’t my words, they’re yours, even if they’re on my blog. Copyright’s kinda nifty that way!

The postings on my sidebar and elsewhere in my blog about copyright are there for two main reasons:

1) Simply to alert people and educate my blog visitors that blogs are not a copyright-free-zone.

2) So that I can have the legal protection necessary, should legal action become necessary. Don’t hope to ever use it, just like I hope I never have to use flood insurance, but hey, it could happen. This is also an effort to deter or at least inconvenience sploggers – or at least give me grounds to fight it, if it becomes necessary.

A copyright notice on my blog is no different than the copyright notice in the front of a book. It gives me (and you, on your blog!) the same protections, the same rights. It just seems a little more intrusive on the web, that’s all.

There’s a lot of great stuff about this topic at Lorelle’s site, and anything I say won’t be nearly as informative as what she has. Please check it out.

And if you might be tempted to copy and reproduce something on this blog to share with your friends – I’m flattered! Really, I am. But please use links; don’t copy an entire post. Like a virus or the less malicious old fashioned game of “telephone” – after my words (or yours) have been copied 20+ times – who knows if they will still really be my words (or yours) any more.

“Play nice” – and the playground’s a nicer place.

Thanks! And blog on!

Addition: I’ve made provisions for people to quote up to 25 words without asking permission, and that is my effort to allow people to use or quote under the U.S. Copyright office’s doctrine of “Fair Use.” Since blog posts are relatively short, it makes sense that the portion that can be used under Fair Use is short, as well. Also, any quotes I use from other sources are posted with Fair Use in mind.

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