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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Copyright and Copy Wrong

By M. J. Joachim

Copyright Defined

Copyright is the exclusive right given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same. Without copyright, anyone can use and copy your work.

By law, intellectual property is owned by the individual who created it, and is therefore inherently protected by copyright. This applies to creative works including writing, photos, artwork, digital work and more. If you made it, you own it, and it is protected by copyright, unless you give it away.

In other words, no one can reproduce, alter, distribute or display your work, without your permission first. You also have the right to determine how your work is used, changed, distributed or displayed. You even have the right to sell your work, trade your work and donate your work. No one else has these rights for your personal intellectual property, or the work produced from its creativity.

Including the © symbol at the end of your posts (and in the sidebar of your blog), along with All Rights Reserved is a valid way of protecting your work with copyright. It is also a good idea to include the year. “As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author, plus an additional 70 years,” according to the U. S. Copyright Office.

By adding your copyright notice to your work, you automatically have a time and date stamp on it, something necessary to prove the work was yours to begin with, should you have a dispute with someone unauthorized who uses your work. It is not enough to simply put your work out there, in hopes that no one takes it. You have little recourse if they do, especially if you can’t prove it’s been copyrighted, and the date your work was originally published.

Crediting Others for Intellectual Property

Photos and artwork, often used to enhance written articles, belong to the person who created them. Many of them are free for the taking, provided some fundamental rules are followed, mainly that of crediting the author and acknowledging the provided copyright agreement.

Pictures on the web provide information about whether or not anyone can use them, as well as how they can be used. They also provide the terms for people to use them. Many are for sale, some offer minimal rights for a one-time fee, others are free to use, providing you credit the author, per the specified instructions listed where the picture can be found.

It is not enough to post a picture stating it came from Wikipedia or someone’s website or blog. It is not enough to link to the picture, without giving credit as specified by the author.

To find out the copyright information for a picture you want to use, click on the picture and read the listed copyright information. Then follow it to the letter, before using the picture for your own purposes. If you can’t find copyright information, it is advisable to contact the owner of the work and ask if you can use it. By doing so, you ensure that you are protected from actions of piracy being filed against you.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on the A – Z Challenge Blog today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Photo credit: Copyright (Simple English) Wikibook Header, Public Domain; Copyright Machine, *doctormo, Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike 3.0


  1. An interesting and informative post, thanks, but I have to ask - how do I put the copyright symbol on my own posts? There's nothing like that on my keyboard :(

    1. hold down the ALT key and type 0169 ;-)

  2. Go into your symbols for pc and find it there. Toggle alt g on macs.

  3. I've been wondering about the copyright issue with my crafting. For example, a friend of mine asked me to make a beaded Boston Red Sox logo hair piece for her and she'd pay me. I told her I didn't think that was legal but I'd make it for her for free. Right now I'm working on a Seattle Seahawks logo cross stitch. The pattern was free off the internet. I have a feeling my fellow Hawks fans are gonna ask if they can buy one. It takes A LOT of work and I would like to be paid if I have to make another one, but is it legal for me to sell a sports team logo? I see lots of crafters at shows selling local team designs done in stitching, glass, etc.

  4. JoJo I know the same sort of protection applies to sports logos (and indeed other business logos and shapes e.g. the classic coke bottle). They have probably registered the logo as a trademark - at least that is what it's called in the UK. It may be that your sports team in question does not mind fans reproducing tribute crafts in reasonable quantities. Best to check.

    MJ - great post! Thanks.

  5. Thanks for stopping by, JoJo and Jemima. I'd definitely find out what you need to know about copyright, before using someone's trademark or logo, especially if it's from a big company or sports team.

  6. That's why I post only book covers, movie posters, and images I create. (Outside of blogfest buttons of course.)

  7. Thanks for the info! I was wondering about this after a comment on a post I got in last year's challenge.

    I've seen some blogs where they put a little note in the sidebar that all images belong to them & don't use without permission, etc - does that work also?

  8. Excellent information to pass on!

  9. Nice, succinct and well-documented. Thanks for this info, MJ.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

  10. I am not at all tech savy and I don't even own a camera phone. Sometimes I just take pictures of items on sale if they are needed in my blog. Very rarely, I copy a thing or two from images on google.

  11. This is timely and excellent information. When I first began blogging, I am sure I blew off all sorts of copyright-owned photos. It was not until one of the photographers contacted me. He was very kind, and I now follow his blog.

  12. I keep telling myself I need to do this, but then let myself believe it is difficult or I need more information. I appreciate this informative and simplifying post!

  13. Thank you for this! Informative and guiding points how to NOT steal others' work. I agree with all other comments - you've simplified it all so beautifully.

  14. Very informative post, MJ, have tweeted it on.

  15. The posts on my main blog will have lots of photographs, and I've been meticulous about properly crediting the non-public domain ones I didn't take.

  16. Excellent post MJ :) We've had huge discussions lately on a crafting page about copyright, will share this :)
    And I must admit I am guilty at times of just a general 'found the photo on Google' phrase *blush*
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe

  17. Thanks so much for this! I'd been assuming that posting my own work was enough of a copyright notice. :(

  18. Thanks for this post. It is food for thought. I must confess to having similar moments to Suzanne…'found it on Google'. never thought to put a copyright on my blog posts.

    Thanks again.

  19. Excellent, MJ! I was just telling a friend about this type of info, yesterday. I will send her your post today!


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